Faces in the Crowd

Kathy Dotinga: Lead cashier at Bellingham Grocery Outlet

CDN's weekly community profile
May 19, 2023 at 5:00 a.m.
Kathy Dotinga is the lead cashier at Bellingham Grocery Outlet, where she has worked for 22 years.
Kathy Dotinga is the lead cashier at Bellingham Grocery Outlet, where she has worked for 22 years. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)

Enterprise Reporter

Kathy Dotinga

Age: 58

City: Bellingham

Lived here for: 58 years

Originally from: Bellingham

Notable: Lead cashier at Bellingham Grocery Outlet, mom, grandma, bicyclist, outdoors enthusiast, people-lover

How long have you worked at Grocery Outlet, and what has kept you there?

Next month is going to be 22 years, on June 11. It's a fun place to work. Good hours, great bosses, fun people. I'm first cashier, so it's the main thing I do. I love it. I get here about 10 in the morning and cashier all day and train new cashiers. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people. And it's exercise, and fun, and close to home. And good hours. 

What is something most people don't know about you?

That I'm a grandma. A lot of people don't even know that I had a kid. Then my daughter has three little grandkids. They are 5 and 6, and then a baby that's almost 4 months, and they live in Ferndale. We get together a lot.  

What do you like most about being a grandma?

Just hanging out together, running errands, doing chores, getting treats. We just have fun, no matter what we're doing.

What gets you through a hard day at work?

Just trying to stay positive, stay in my bubble. Saying minimal at times, but in general, it's usually pretty great and people are wonderful. There's a few difficult ones that like to ruin your day — or try to. I just focus on the minute. That's key. 

What do you like to do for fun?

I like to ride bikes and hang out with the grandkids. I mow four lawns in my neighborhood. I like to be by the ocean. I like to go on the cruises they have from Fairhaven; it's an evening dinner cruise, basically. An hour and a half. It's the highlight of my summer with friends — different people go with me each time. 

Is retirement in your future?

No, my schedule right now is semi-retired: I work 24 hours Tuesday through Friday. [Maybe] when I'm 82 ... actually 70, probably. One day at a time again. 

Do you have a favorite memory from your job here?

They have special parties for people leaving, and we have them in here sometimes, and sometimes at the boss's house. For 19 of the 22 years, I worked for her parents. Now, it's switched over to their daughter and her husband, so it's kind of a cool, generation thing, I guess. 

One time a guy came in, and he was buying stuff for a guacamole contest. I said, 'What are you putting in it?' And he told me the normal stuff, so I said, 'Add salt and sour cream into the things you're already adding and you're gonna win.' And he came back just to tell me he won. It was so cute — he was like 22 years old and was like 'I just came in to tell you I won!' People come back and report things a lot. Makes me feel good, that I helped them out. 

“Faces in the Crowd” is published weekly in print on Wednesdays and online Fridays. Have a suggestion for a “Faces in the Crowd” subject? Email us at newstips@cascadiadaily.com.

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