“She’s done it all and gave everything for that company. She’s the hardest worker I know. She never gave herself time to relax and enjoy life. Now with her grandkids around, it’s time.” – Ashley
“What started as a temporary job turned into a career that she’s been very proud of. She has managed several departments, including bulk foods and video, she was overnight manager for several years and then front end manager for many years, and recently she advocated for herself to become a designated checker trainer.” – Meghan
This is what Cathy Kays’ daughters had to say about her upcoming retirement from Schnucks. They have both seen the hard work and dedication their mother has put in at the company for well over 30 years, and they know she deserves all the praise and celebration that comes when a great employee retires.
“Cathy started working at Schnucks in 1989,” her husband Mitchell said. “She started at store #179, which was on Chippewa Street. She started as a grocery clerk making $7.25 an hour. She was raising two girls by herself, so she worked very hard and did whatever she needed to do to provide for her girls. Which meant taking the overnight manager’s job in 1993, where she worked for seven years.”
Everything Cathy did was for the good of her children. She has always been a driven worker because she wants to do what is best for her girls at all times, as well as to show them what work life is all about. All Cathy has ever done is work hard and get promoted throughout the years, and deservedly so.
It was not always easy, either. Cathy had to find the balance between always being there for Ashley and Meghan and working extremely hard, but that was a balance she exceeded at finding.
“It was very hard for her, but that’s just who she is,” Mitchell said. “Over the years she has taken on various tasks, she worked at the corporate office on and off again for six years. She has flown in the [Schnuck] family’s corporate jet three times over the years to help open other stores in different states.”
Cathy has been a trusty employee from day one. Her employers have always known her to be someone who is loyal and who has poured endless hours into helping the business grow, and that is why she was trusted to help open other stores nationwide.
Cathy was also trusted enough to be promoted multiple times throughout her Schnucks career. She was promoted to front end manager in 2000, along with many other promotions and achievements.
Cathy also introduced the “fish philosophy” in 2006, which might or might not have revolved around throwing fish around. But more importantly, it was a way to help keep things fun and enjoyable for all the Schnucks employees, and her coworkers loved it.
“It was the introduction of these philosophies that led to her winning the biggest honor Schnucks awards: the ‘D.O.S.’ award, which is named after Scott and Todd Schnucks’ father, Donald O. Schnuck,” Mitchell said. “The D.O.S. award is given for excellence in customer service. She won this award in 2009.”
Something Cathy has always done well is put the customers first. She is a people person, so it was very easy for her to get along with everyone who walked through those doors.
“She loves to make her customers and teammates feel special,” Meghan said. “She treats everyone how she wants to be treated and uses her creative skills to deliver a great experience.”
From the fish philosophy to making sure her coworkers knew she was there to help them, Cathy made sure everyone was aware that she was always going to be there for them.
And of course, Cathy’s daughters got to learn from her through it all. They saw just how amazing their mother has been and how hard of a worker she is, and they are more than happy to look up to her.
“My mom is so hard working,” Ashley said. “She puts her all into everything. She always makes sure everyone has what they need. Mom showed me how to be patient, how to put others before you and how to listen. She’s shown me how to care for others before myself. She’s my rock.”
It is not just in a working sense that Cathy has been a great role model to her girls. She has also been a supportive mother who is there for her daughters at all times. She may have worked crazy hours, but it was all so she could be there for her children.
“Cathy is a devoted mother who raised her two daughters, Meghan and Ashley, to grow up to be amazing women,” Mitchell said. “She now has two grandchildren which are the loves of her life.”
Murphy and Tommy love their Mimi, and Cathy is certainly looking forward to spending more time with them as well. While she is excited to spend more time with her husband and her girls, Cathy really cannot wait to spend more time spoiling Murphy and Tommy.
Meghan and Ashley know Murphy and Tommy will grow up to appreciate their Mimi, as she is certainly one of a kind. She is the kind of Mimi that will always be there for them, and her devotion to everything speaks for itself.
“My mom was my very first best friend and playmate,” Meghan said. “She’s very comfortable with silliness and enjoys making people laugh. I’m not as imaginative as she is, but I believe my daughter has inherited her imagination and love for silly pretend play. When the two of them are together, it’s entertaining and very sweet to see she finally found a good match for play time.”
All this being said, Cathy is truly a remarkable woman who is entering a well-deserved retirement. She has always been focused on the right things in life, and she is appreciated for all she does for those around her.
Cathy should know that she is celebrated each and every day by her family, and that they are thankful for her and love her so much.
“Happy retirement Mom! Thanks for giving me a strong work ethic and teaching me how to treat others. You’ve touched a lot of lives over the years and you’ve earned this! Murphy says you’re hired for Mimi play dates.” – Meghan
“Happy retirement Mom! Thank you for all you did to make sure we were cared for. You gave up a lot to make sure we were ok, and now it’s your turn. We love you.” – Ashley