Serving the City: Sartell Bartender Calls Her Customers ‘Family’
SARTELL -- Calling herself a "lifer" Kristin Hilsgen is another area resident who works full-time in the bar and restaurant industry.
She started out in the business working at Erbert and Gerbert's in downtown St. Cloud, from there she started bartending at McCann's, then when they closed she moved on to Mulligans and has now been working as a bartender at the House of Pizza in Sartell for the past seven years.
She says with about 80 percent of her customers being regulars she misses not being able to see them every day.
We're really like family here, we're really close-knit, we know everybody that comes in, so it doesn't really fell like work some days. You just get to hang out with people and it's a lot of fun.
Hilsgen says her regulars mean a lot to her.
I've had my son's birthday parties here and they all show up. I've done a couple of fundraisers during the shutdown to try and help fellow service industry people and they are right there to help donate and do whatever they can do to help out. You really don't look at them as customers anymore.
She says she is currently laid-off and is collecting unemployment, however, it's only about $200 a week, so she is using savings to help pay the bills.
Even though Hilsgen is laid-off House of Pizza is where we caught up with her this week volunteering to collect donations.
We're taking donations to give to Catholic Charities, and then we've also opened up a wrapping booth and all the donations I'm getting from that I'm doing a support local fundraiser. Everything I get I'm buying gift cards to the local restaurants and giving them to people who can't afford to go out to eat or have been affected by COVID.
Hilsgen says it doesn't surprise her that so many local bars and restaurants have been putting together donation drives, even during a time when they are facing their own struggles.
We're a different breed, I've always said, we're kind of quirky we're a little different but we would do anything for anybody, anything we can do to help people out.
Hilsgen has been working in the restaurant industry for 15 years and says she does look at it as a career. She has a bachelor's in business. She says she's most looking forward to being able to greet people again with hugs and hi-fives in the new year.
If you know of a person who is working full time in the restaurant industry that we should feature in our "Serving the City" series let us know.