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Cuero teen works first job to save money (w/video)

By Jessica Rodrigo
July 26, 2014 at 2:26 a.m.

Working at her first job in Cuero at Ful-O-Pep, Leah Buske has learned a lot about retail,  working floor coverage throughout the store from summer-style shoes to tack supplies.

Tips from the boss

Greg Gossett said most new hires are chosen as a collaborative effort between the managers and himself. When looking at a pool of potential employees, he said a good demeanor can go a long way.

"An employee's attitude has to be a strong point," Gossett said. "They also have to have a good work ethic and be willing to do any task they are asked to do."

A person's maturity level is important, too, he said. Some employees don't take the initiative to do something without being told.

"If their attitude is good and they're prompt, you can teach them to do just about anything," Gossett said.

Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series highlighting people taking on their first job or returning to workforce.

Saving money is nothing new for Leah Buske.

The bubbly 16-year-old has saved money since she started showing animals at the Cuero Livestock Show. Now that she's earning her first paychecks, she has a chance to save even more.

This summer, Leah is working between 32 and 38 hours a week at Ful-O-Pep Ranch and Garden Center.

She started six months ago after she passed her driving test and earned her license, which is exactly what president and owner of Ful-O-Pep Ranch and Garden Center Greg Gossett, had been waiting for.

"He (Gossett) always asked me when I was going to get my license, so I could start working for him," Leah said.

She remembers taking the test on a Wednesday and starting Friday.

Since then, she's been trained in different areas of the store, including the boutique, garden center, cash register and ranch store.

Folding Miss Me jeans, unpacking shipments, stacking boxes of shoes or organizing other merchandise are just a few of her duties. She says the job can be fun and mostly stress-free. Finding a special place for each item is one of her biggest challenges, she said.

Merchandise is hung on walls, piled on tables and on display throughout the store, Leah said, so it's important she knows where everything is so she can help the customers.

"I don't really like the register because I haven't memorized all the numbers for the feed yet," she said with a shrug. "Sometimes, I have to look them up."

With every paycheck Leah earns, she saves $200 for college, pays the bill for her cellphone and keeps the tank full in her 2006 Chevy, a vehicle she bought with her stock show money.

Atypical of most teens, she said she's also putting money aside for when she buys a home.

"I always save my money. It's just a good idea for when I'm older," she said.

Ful-O-Pep is a place she's a had a long time to get familiar with because of her time competing in the Cuero Livestock Show and participating in Future Farmers of America. She's also hoping she can earn credit through the work program at Cuero High School in the upcoming year.

She said Gossett has already proved to be a wealth of knowledge for her as she prepares for her next stock show.

He's helping her prepare for showing her first steer at the Cuero Livestock Show by recommending supplements and techniques that might earn her a grand champion ribbon.

"She's got a good ag background," Gossett said.

Leah's dad, Shane Buske, also works with Gossett in the ag business. He said he didn't have a single worry about her picking up a part-time job while in the middle of her sophomore school year.

"I knew she would be able to take care of it," Shane Buske said. "She's responsible, and she knows the consequences of what would happen if she doesn't get her schoolwork done."

He said Leah is the oldest of his three daughters and that they all started working around cattle and horses when they were in still in their diapers.

Outside of her nearly 40-hour workweek - and caring for other people's horses on the side - she said she still has enough time to get her schoolwork taken care of and chisel out time to ride with her sisters.

"I grew up riding horses and working cattle with my dad," she said. "I always stay pretty busy."

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