As of Tuesday, May 2, 2017
GRANGEVILLE A longtime familiar face won’t be showing up at Asker’s Harvest Foods anymore.
After 48 years on the job, manager Brad Wassmuth has retired.
“I think it’s time,” he smiled.
Wassmuth was born and raised in Grangeville with six siblings. He graduated from Grangeville High School in 1970.
“I worked at Asker’s all four years of high school,” he said. It was kind of a family tradition, as his mother and brother each worked at the store, as well.
Following high school he went to work at the mill and was then drafted. He served in the Army for two years and when he returned home, started work at Asker’s again.
“I almost went back to the mill,” he smiled. “Looking back, I am really glad I chose the path I did.”
That path led him through four generations of Asker owners, starting with John Asker, then Jerry Asker, on to Kevin Asker and now Alecia Asker. During those 48 years, Wassmuth worked about every job in the store, from stock boy and cashier to meat cutter and deli worker. He has been manager for about the past two decades.
Technology has changed the grocery industry the most in his lifetime, Wassmuth said.
“Being able to keep track of things on the computer and order that way is amazing – when it works,” he laughed.
When Wassmuth started, they received a catalog and hand-wrote and mailed in their orders which took about a week to arrive.
“Now, we usually get things the next day,” he said. “And scanning items instead of punching in the prices has sure saved time.”
Wassmuth said he will definitely miss the vendors he has gotten to know throughout the years, the people he works with and the customers.
“I am ready for some more weekends off, though” he grinned.
He has worked all shifts, many weekends and in years past, six days a week.
“That was definitely a change, when the store started being open on Sundays,” he said. “It’s been a busy job.”
The busyness has been good for Wassmuth, who has enjoyed keeping his hands and mind going.
“Yeah, I’m not totally sure what I will do,” he said.
Part of that list will include more camping trips with his wife, Kathy. Kathy is employed at U.S. Bank and will retire next year. Then, the two plan to take an RV trip, along with their little Pomeranian dog, to Alaska.
The couple has five children, 15 grandchildren and their fourth great-grandchild is on the way.
Aside from camping, they also like to hunt and fish and ride their four-wheelers. Wassmuth previously coached girls’ softball and has run the chains at the football games for 25 years.
“I think I will just look forward to doing some of the same things with more time to do it,” he smiled.