By Laura Cochrane
Whether it be lifting heavy boxes, coming up with a creative store plan or simply saying hello to everyone, Suzanne Katje comes and leaves Busters, the Western Michigan University bookstore, each day with a smile on her face.
Katje is the team lead and head merchandiser at Busters. She lifts boxes of heavy merchandise, places orders for the products carried in store and designs fun displays. She’s done this for the past 15 years. She has been working in retail/merchandising for as long as she can remember.
Co-workers sometimes refer to Katje as “mom,” which is one of her favorite parts of her job. Many of the employees are students at WMU and she creates a very close relationship with them. Many of the employees tower over her small presence, looking down at her purple and gray hair, but, they also come when they hear her calling with her booming voice across the whole store.
Katie moves like a sprite about the store: lightly zipping about, from the break room after clocking in, to the front of the store, then a sharp left at a shelf of mugs and cups to finally arrive at her desk. All the while, she doesn’t lift her head from her clipboard that lists her tasks for the day.
Katje recently had a shoulder replacement, which makes it a little more difficult to lift heavy merchandise and displays; she admits that the heavy lifting is a more difficult task but, her spunky attitude and high energy keep her going.