As if raising two children under the age of three and working full-time in two different communities were not enough, Yvonne and Greg Linnen also decided to take the plunge to being self-employed in 1994.
Having worked at Wadena Drugs since 1987, both as a student and then upon graduation, Yvonne Linnen recognized an opportunity when former owners Gary and Lori Howe were looking to sell. Although Greg was employed as grocery manager for Foam Lake Co-op at the time and they were living in Foam Lake, buying the store seemed like the right thing to do, the Linnens told the News last week.
Originally from Tisdale, they both liked small-town living and more personal care and service have always been their focus, Greg said.
“The move has turned out really well,” added Yvonne, although her role as pharmacist has changed immensely over the past two decades.
“There’s more attention to one-on-one consultation now,” said Greg, and Yvonne is heavily involved as part of the primary health-care team that works out of Wadena Medical Clinic.
No stranger to the public eye, Greg is also mayor of Wadena and was first elected as councillor in 2000.
As with many rural businesses, being able to hire enough and keep staff are perhaps the biggest challenges the Linnens have had over the years. Greg said they just continue to “roll with punches” but have been fortunate with their staff, several of whom have remained loyal over the years.
The business celebrated its 20th anniversary with a week-long sale featuring coffee and treats on Nov. 20 so customers and well-wishers could stop in for a few minutes and say hello.
According to the local history book, Remembering Times Volume 1, Wadena Drugs has been a part of the Main Street landscape since 1946 and was originally owned by Cliff Gray. In 1979 Gray built a new building where it now stands, before selling the business to Gary Howe.
By Alison Squires