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Hugo’s cashier retires after 37 years

Chip Goins talks with Lonna Skyberg on her second to last day of work at Hugo's in Grand Forks, ND on May 27, 2015. Chip and Lonna have been friends for a very long time. (Photo by Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)1 / 4
Lonna Skyberg smiles for a portrait while she waits at the register that she has been at for many years at Hugo's in Grand Forks, ND on May 27, 2015. (Photo by Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)2 / 4
Lonna Skyberg holds up a "hillbilly attitude adjuster" that she gave the staff a while back at Hugo's in Grand Forks, ND on May 27, 2015. One of the employees joked that the crack in the hammer wasn't there when she first brought it. (Photo by Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)3 / 4
Chip Goins gets a hug from Lonna Skyberg on her second to last day at Hugo's in Grand Forks, ND on May 27, 2015. (Photo by Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)4 / 4

Past and present Hugo’s supermarket employees gathered in the store’s break room Wednesday morning to eat lunch, have cake and say goodbye to their “Mom cashier.”

Thursday marks Lonna Skyberg’s last shift at the grocery store, 1315 S. Columbia Road, where she’s worked full time for 37 years, since the store’s opening.

“I’ll miss the customers, the fellow employees,” Skyberg said. “I’ve had some of these customers since day one.”

During her last shifts at till No. 2 -- Skyberg’s home away from home -- she gave Hershey’s kisses to her customers. Many of these “last kisses” were greeted with hugs and tears.

“It’s my way of dealing with it,” Skyberg said.

Mary Jo Richards, Skyberg’s “adopted daughter,” has worked at Hugo’s for 21 years. Richards said working alongside Skyberg has been amazing.

“She’s the most positive person I know,” Richards said. “The kindest person I know.”

She said she’ll miss Skyberg’s smile most.

“She’s always looked out for me,” Richards said.

Store manager Dave Mackowick said he hasn’t worked directly with Skyberg for very long, but he has noticed the good connection she has with customers.

“She’s very customer-oriented,” Mackowick said.

He’ll miss her dependability and great work, he said.

Beth Melby, the store’s front-end manager, has worked with Skyberg for nine years.

“It’s been fun. I’m going to miss her laugh,” Melby said. “And she has a big heart. I’m going to miss that.”

She said she will miss Skyberg’s stories, laughs and warmth.

“She’s been a hoot,” Melby said. “The customers will miss her and everyone will miss her.”

Once Skyberg retires, she said she and her husband plan to sell their home and buy lake property near Park Rapids, Minn. Wherever she ends up, she said she will still shop at Hugo’s.

“They’ve been very, very good people to work for,” she said.