Brenda Willcuts

Meet Brenda Willcuts, Classifieds Inside Sales, who will be celebrating 16 years in April with the Press & Dakotan. Brenda has seen many changes through her years here and even a job change.

Before the P&D, Brenda worked a few different jobs around Yankton. In high school she worked at Sunshine in the cafe. She was then self-employed for 10-15 years cleaning houses. She enjoyed this because if offered her flexibility in her schedule when her daughter, Amberlee, was young. If Amber were sick or had the day off school, Brenda could just reschedule her clients and be present with Amber. While cleaning houses, she also worked part-time at Gurney’s. She would work until noon at Gurney’s and then would go clean houses.

Brenda started working part-time at the Missouri Valley Shopper as well, getting her first taste for a job she now does today. When she first started she only worked Tuesday’s. She would deliver tearsheets to the customers who ran ads that week. This is how she got to know the customers she still talks to now. She would take apart the paper, cut out each ad, and then she would make copies of the ad which was usually about 6 copies, and then she’d deliver those to the clients who ran that week. “It’s funny how much things have changed. How it’s much easier.”

While still working Tuesday’s at the Missouri Valley Shopper, Gurney’s closed. The classifieds department at the shopper was too busy for the one full-time person and Brenda was encouraged by her good friend who was a salesperson at the time to take the part-time classifieds job they had created. She was nervous about the job because she didn’t know if she could do the computer work involved. But when Gurney’s closed, Job Service offered classes so you could find another job. Brenda took all the computer classes that were offered and she began working as Classified Inside Sales part-time in the afternoon. This was the beginning and after some time it got even busier and Brenda went full-time. Not long after this, Missouri Valley Shopper and the Press & Dakotan joined together in the current building and Brenda has been with the Press & Dakotan since.

Brenda loves getting to know everyone - the clients and customers. Because of her years at the Missouri Valley Shopper and Press & Dakotan she knows a lot of the clients and customers and enjoys that they can catch up. It helps having that long-standing working relationship and she enjoys keeping up-to-date on their families and lives. This also causes clients to ask for her specifically because they have known her for so long. She also enjoys the work and working. Especially with everyone, “we’re a close knit family. We can sit and visit and talk about our families.”

One of her fondest memories is from back when she was delivering tearsheets. It was her anniversary and every anniversary her husband, Steve, buys her a rose for every year they have been together. One year he asked her boss if he could have some of the clients she would be seeing to give her one of the roses. Her boss and the clients agreed. She went to her clients like usual and a few of them gave her a rose. “It was special.”

Another memory is from the blizzard of 2005. Everyone was sent home early and Brenda got stuck trying to go home. Gary Wood picked her up that next day, Tuesday, because she couldn’t get out of her driveway. They were short-staffed but everyone worked as a team to make sure that Yankton and the surrounding areas got their papers. “We team together to make it work - like a family.”

When she’s not at the Press & Dakotan she enjoys babysitting her grandson, Trenton, and spending time with her family. She has been happily married to Steve for 37 years and they have a daughter Amberlee. Amber is married to Nathan and they have Trenton. The family is “super into sports” such as golfing, bowling, and Amber plays softball. They used to coach Amber’s softball team when she was younger but now Brenda just enjoys watching her family play. They tried to get her into golfing but she prefers not to play. One time they needed a 4th because it was tournament so she decided she would play and help them out. She got a birdy and everyone was excited but Brenda only thought “what did I do?” She just never got the golfing bug like they did.

Brenda also loves to collect Coca-Cola things and go to rummage sales. Sometimes she finds Coca-Cola things at rummage sales. One of the best things she has found at a rummage sale was a bunch of Coca-Cola ornaments. The guy had a room full of Coca-Cola related things. She had a few ornaments but this guy had a bunch more. He offered them to her for just a couple of dollars a piece and she bought 90% of them. She has two Christmas trees every year. One with all her coca-cola ornaments and the other is what people call the “Amber tree” because every year she buys an ornament for Amber and puts her picture in it. She wants to continue that tradition with Trenton and have three trees.

After 16 years, Brenda still enjoys coming into work to see her coworkers and her clients. “It’s a family here. We all know each other and enjoy each other.” The next time you stop into the Press & Dakotan say hello to Brenda and maybe tell her what’s new with you or your family.