Craig Valentin has, in a sense, come home.

Having grown up a couple of miles north of Franklin, Valentin considers the Redwood area his home, and his new role as a store manager at Runnings in Redwood Falls has given him the chance to get back.

After graduating from Cedar Mountain High School in 2000, Valentin attended the University of Minnesota where he studied agriculture and marketing.

“Initially I wanted to get into agronomy,” said Valentin.

Raised on a farm, Valentin has always felt a connection to his ag roots, and an opportunity arose that allowed him the chance to maintain that while getting into the business side of his college degree. He started working at the Springfield Runnings store working as a department manager focusing on the agricultural aspects of the business.

Valentin rose through the ranks at the Springfield store and most recently was the store manager.

“I worked at the Springfield store for 14 years,” he said.

Having lived in the area where Runnings got its start – the first store opened in Marshall – Valentin was familiar with the company from a customer perspective. The first Redwood Falls site was one of the original eight Runnings stores that opened.

“I remember coming to Redwood and going to the old store on Bridge Street,” said Valentin.

While his dad got the parts he needed, Valentin headed to the toy section.

Moving to the Redwood Falls site was a step up for Valentin who said the community is bigger than Springfield, but it still has that rural connection.

As store manager, Valentin said he serves in a variety of roles from hiring and training staff to ensuring the people who walk into the store can get what they are looking to purchase.

“Customer service is very important,” said Valentin.

Valentin’s role also includes getting a good grasp of what people are buying and are asking for and then making sure the store meets those needs.

Valentin and his wife, Loribess, live on a farm near Morgan. She continues her role as a certified pharmacy technician at the Thrifty White pharmacy in Springfield.

Valentin said he enjoys knowing he now has the chance to work with people he knew growing up, adding he likes seeing more of those familiar faces as they walk through the Runnings store doors.

When he is not on the job, Valentin said he does help out on the family farm. He also enjoys fishing and hunting. Valentin said he enjoys the community and is looking forward to getting more active in groups and organizations as he settles into his new role.

Runnings has 45 locations throughout the midwest, said Valentin, adding he has appreciated the chance to work for the company over the years.

Valentin looks forward to the opportunity to serve the community in his new role as store manager at Runnings in Redwood Falls.