Spencer fits right in at Econo

Dec. 17, 2020


By David Nordby

The Brillion News


BRILLION - There is a jovial employee working at the front-end of Econofoods in Brillion.


Not just cheerful because it is Christmas time either, but because he has been happy to be working at the grocery store as a cashier for the past month.


Spencer Peotter, a 17-year-old Brillion High School student, is high functioning autistic.


“High functioning autism is typically someone who is verbal and can function, for the most part, at their age level, but socially they struggle a lot,” Peotter’s mom, Amy Gotter said.


So far as a cashier, socializing with customers has been a positive for Peotter.


“If he sees people from school or teachers or anyone he knows, he calls them by name,” Angela Shimek, Peotter’s manager at the store says.


Econo works to know the names of its customers, Shimek said, and Peotter has picked that up with happiness, often asking customers how their day is going.


“His customer service skills surprised me that he was comfortable enough to say those things,” Shimek said.


From a parental perspective, it is rewarding, too.


“Oh my gosh, that’s all those years of therapy coming out of him now. We spent since he was 4 teaching him how to interact with people in social settings and now, we get to see him apply that in his job, and it’s really, really cool,” Gotter said.


Peotter enjoys working at the store and interacting with customers, he says.


“I just really like it,” Peotter said. “It’s just a good environment.”


Econofoods staff members have worked with Peotter to acclimate him to the position since his hiring.


Shimek adjusted the training and worked with Peotter closely for two weeks.


Please see the complete story in the Dec. 17, 2020 print edition of The Brillion News.