Wadena's Walmart celebrates 15 years

The first day was “crazy” and “eye-opening,” as Templin and Brovetto-Granroth described. The store would become a hub for offering a wide range of products, welcoming regular customers and supporting the community. With a “great career,” Templin also enjoys seeing associates involved in her hometown.

A line of Walmart associates.
A group of Wadena Walmart associates have worked with the store since opening in January 2007. The store is celebrating its 15 year anniversary as of January 2022.
Contributed / Wadena Walmart

WADENA — When Wadena’s Walmart opened 15 years ago, associate Karin Brovetto-Granroth had one question: “Where’s my roller skates?”

The large building needed every shelf assembled and stocked before opening to the public. The empty store became aisles of provisions, toys, electronics, home goods and pharmacy items.

“We put the stuff together,” Amber Templin remarked of opening the store. She is an associate and bakery team lead. “The store looked so big and you couldn’t see across the whole thing. It was like, ‘Are we ever going to get this filled, put together?’”

The first day was “crazy” and “eye-opening,” as Templin and Brovetto-Granroth described. The store would become a hub for offering a wide range of products, welcoming regular customers and supporting the community. With a “great career,” Templin also enjoys seeing associates involved in her hometown.

Two Walmart associates pose for a photo.
Wadena Walmart associate Karin Brovetto-Granroth, left, and associate and bakery team lead Amber Templin have worked at the store for 15 years. Both started in November 2006 before the store opened in January 2007.<br/>
Contributed / Wadena Walmart

Both Brovetto-Granroth and Templin have marked off just about the whole store with their leadership roles. Brovetto-Granroth hoped for a way to work and be home with her kids when she started as an overnight stocker and transitioned through the modular team, deli and produce department manager and online grocery associate. She worked nights and fueled the next day with school activities and a few hours of sleep before starting again.


“I enjoy working on the grocery side because the product just moves so much faster,” Templin said. While working in the electronics, grocery, produce and consumables departments as department manager and zone supervisor, she’s enjoyed the daytime hours to be with her kids. “It’s never the same every day, and I just like pushing my product out and getting it done.”

With a footprint of 99,000 square feet, departments have moved over the years, though with the same departments since opening—besides the addition of the online grocery pickup area in 2020. The online service allows customers to pick up their groceries without leaving their car thanks to associates who shop for and then deliver their groceries.

“It’s fun making sure that all the customers' stuff is ready to go to them and bring it out to their car, and help them out that way,” Brovetto-Granroth said. “It’s been great for people with the COVID issues but it’s also been great for single parents. Husbands have to go get the groceries, got a lot of husbands that love it.”

The location is easy for many in the area with access off Hwy 71, and the next Walmart locations in Park Rapids and Detroit Lakes.

“For the customers, it’s just great having a place they can go where everything is here. And we usually have what they need,” Brovetto-Granroth said of the benefit to the community. “You can take a 10 minute trip and get to your store and get the products that you need and continue on with your day,” Templin added.

As customers flow through the store daily, there’s a need for associates being ‘people people,’ or learning to become a people person. While getting to work with her daughter in the produce department, Brovetto-Granroth said she “opened up a lot” from being more shy and “she’s not the same person.” Over her 15 years, Brovetto-Granroth enjoyed the deli as her favorite department with her many years in food management.

The customers are a good group mostly, including funny jokes, and you learn to work with the “riley” people, as Templin and Brovetto-Granroth said.

“A lot of them we see them on a regular basis, they’ve just become family,” Templin said. “I actually see more of my friends and family here at work than I do outside the store,” Brovetto-Granroth added with a laugh.


When the store first opened as a 24/7 location, Brovetto-Granroth said offering the middle of the night service helped people with emergencies like when a pipe burst and they needed a fix until morning. Customers also come to the store needing to keep to a budget, such as senior citizens and families with kids.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the constant stocking, trying to have items available and having associates and customers comfortable shopping in the store has been their hardest challenge yet. There have been many system changes to make unloading, stocking and storing products easier over the years, including finding items at the click of a button.

“Our day was as soon as a truck came in, everybody worked together to get the product out for the customers,” Templin said, “and that was probably the most trying time we’ve ever had.”

Santa Walmart Moothart.JPG
Rohan Moothart, Izzy Moothart and New York Mills police officer Colton Odash start off their Walmart shopping adventure with a Mrs. Claus and Santa photo on Dec. 16, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal

Community projects like the food shelf and Shop with a Hero are areas they love supporting. That care was an important part of raising up the community following the 2010 tornado. “We got really strong after that tornado,” Brovetto-Granroth said, and Walmart associates worked to offer semi-truck loads of water, coolers, blankets and pillows.

“A lot of the associates would take time out of their day and go and just pass water around and food for our community. I think that was really great,” Templin shared. “I remember the next summer at the parade, … Walmart was in the parade and as soon as we turned the corner on Main Street the whole town was just cheering and it was just wonderful.”

The store is celebrating 15 years of a “great accomplishment” and servicing community needs from late-night ice cream runs to repairs and advice to grocery shopping.

For more information on available job opportunities, visit or text jobs to 240240.

Rebecca Mitchell started as a Digital Content Producer for the Post Bulletin in August 2022. She specializes in feature reporting as well as enhancing online articles. Readers can reach Rebecca at 507-285-7681 or
What To Read Next
Get Local