Worden’s Market employee hits 30th anniversary

David Erickson

Worden’s Market and Deli in downtown Missoula is 140 years old this year, and Mark Thomsen has been behind the counter chatting with customers for 30 of those years.

Anyone who’s bought a deli sandwich or a bottle of wine or a pack of gum at the market over the last three decades has likely been rung up by Thomsen, who keeps the mood cheerful even during the busiest downtown lunchtime rush. He’s easily recognizable by his bald head, his hearty, deep voice as he jokes around with people, or the many pins he wears on his apron.

But he really wouldn’t call what he does “work.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever worked here at Worden’s Market,” he explained, dramatically lowering his voice and grinning. “And so we all know the songs, the prose, the poetry: If you do something you love, you never work. So I come in here, and there’s a whole bunch of people, I call it my social hour. Don’t tell anybody that owns Worden’s ‘cause they’re still payin’ me.”

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