Thea Swanepoel

After four months working a variety of shifts at The Corner in Onida, Thea Swanepoel has been named night manager.

Along with her husband Johannes and son Eddy – who both work for CHS Midwest Cooperative, and daughter Johané an Onida Elementary third grader, Thea arrived in Onida a year ago.

The family, who hails from South Africa, arrived in the United States through the H-2A program for temporary agricultural workers. “My husband Johannes came here as a seasonal ag worker,” said Thea. Initially, Johannes worked seasonally, returning to SA when his seasonal work was done. Eventually, his family joined him in the US, living in Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Iowa, and Montana before making the move to Onida.

Thea’s first job in the community was at Brock’s Butcher Block, and she says that even after seeing the ‘help wanted’ sign posted at The Corner, it took her a while to apply. “I didn’t know if it was the right thing, but eventually I applied and I got the job.”

The position requires Thea do a bit of “everything” – cooking, cashier, dishwashing and cleaning, but she says her favorite part of the job is “getting to know the customers.”

Prior to coming to the US, Thea worked for a wholesaler similar to Walmart where she managed sixty people. “I started at the bottom as a cashier and went through training in stores and worked my way into management.”

Thea says that one of the things she will work toward as night manager is offering night specials. “I just got this job a week ago,” said Thea. “We’re working to get some night specials, but we’re not there yet.”

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