Mark Mlinar is excited to be the new manager of Spring Valley's Dollar General Store.   GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE PHOTO
Mark Mlinar is excited to be the new manager of Spring Valley's Dollar General Store. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE PHOTO
Mark Mlinar wants people to know he's a sticker.

"I plan on sticking around. I have stability and plan to be here a good amount of time," said Mlinar, the new manager of Spring Valley's Dollar General store, who started serving the local public through his role there two weeks ago this Wednesday.

He underlined his Spring Valley connections and his intent to remain as the store's manager, as the local Dollar General has undergone several management changes since it opened.

"My wife, Julie, and I have been here for 17 years, and my grandparents owned the theaters here," he said. "I'm real excited about doing this - I'm revved up."

Mlinar shared the details of his resume, saying, "I've done a lot of things, and I have retail experience - I've managed theaters, my wife and I ran a restaurant in Osage, Iowa, for three years and did it all from hiring and firing to ordering, I was in the travel business, and most recently, I spent 20 years with FedEx."

He'd considered joining the postal service in Spring Valley, but other plans were in store for him. "I wanted to work in Spring Valley since we got here. I just wanted to be a part of the community, not one of the people who ran to Rochester all the time. It's not that I didn't like FedEx, but I didn't like the drive, particularly in winter when the weather was bad. When this came up, I jumped on the chance."

Mlinar has already spent five whole days in training at the Dollar General training center in Des Moines, Iowa, and has more training on the calendar in January and February. He's learned to operate the store's point-of-sale system, oversee inventory, manage loss, manage employees and keep the Dollar General shelves full and the aisles clear.

"I want to have a nice store, a well-run store that people enjoy shopping in and get the products they need. I'd like to see people come home and shop here, at Sunshine and the other stores in Spring Valley," he explained. "We've got more than Dollar General brands here, and we aim to keep products on the shelves and keep our customers happy...keep the shelves stocked, keep the store clean and presentable, have helpful staff, and let people know we appreciate their business."

He takes that as a challenge, and his enthusiasm for his new job is uncontainable. "Personally, the fact that there is a challenge makes it interesting, because after 20 years at the same job, it wasn't challenging anymore. The fact that I have a new challenge means that I'm raring to go again." He stated that while Dollar General may not be everyone's first choice as a place to shop, he feels that a little courtesy can go a long way. "Sometimes price dictates where people go, but what's wrong with a greeting and a smile?"

Mlinar lives in Spring Valley with his wife. They have four grown children: Patience, who is married and lives in Milwaukee with her husband and their child; Justin, who is married, lives in Spring Valley and has four children; Malachi, who is a designer at Halcon in Stewartville; and Levi, who lives in Atlanta and aspires to be a cinematographer.

He concluded that he hopes to spend at least 15 years as Dollar General's manager. "I'm here to stay. It'll be a good place to shop."