Avista shines a light on north Spokane icon

With one foot propped up on a wood block and a blue highlighter in his hand, Archie Johnson transforms a simple store receipt into a cherished work of art.  Archie first started working at Costco in north Spokane nearly 12 years ago, and in that time, he’s touched the hearts of thousands of customers.

“I make people happy when they come into Costco and I make people happy when they leave Costco,” said Archie Johnson.

Archie is in charge of checking receipts before customers leave the warehouse. However, Archie takes his job one-step-further by drawing his signature smiley face on every receipt.

“When I first started drawing smiley faces, I heard a kid say ‘the face even has a nose.’ I was blown away by that and it made me keep doing it the same way ever since. You can tell my smiley face from anyone else’s,” said Archie.

By some estimates, Archie has left his signature smiley face on millions of Costco receipts, making him a celebrity with customers. In fact, When Archie’s working, you’ll often find a long line of people waiting to see him. Archie’s smiley faces have also been known to soothe a child throwing a Costco-size tantrum at the exit door.

“Well, I don’t do it for the prestige, I just be Archie. I enjoy meeting people and making kids happy.  It makes me feel great because they feel great,” said Archie.

No matter how busy the store is, Archie, with his own infectious smile, makes every customer feel like a friend.

“I’ve always been joyful. It comes from my upbringing, it comes from my mom. She was a role model and I try to pattern my life after hers,” added Archie.

Archie feels a connection with just about every person who walks through Costco, too.

“I’ve watched kids grow up through my line. When I started, they were sitting in the cart at 4-years-old and now they are 15-years-old and standing tall,” said Archie.

At the end of March, Archie will put the cap back on his highlighter for the last time. Archie works 30 hours a week and said his body is starting to talk to him. He props his foot up on a wood block to relieve pressure on his back, but it’s still not enough.

“I’m turning 73 years of age on March 23rd. I don’t say I’m 73-years-old because then you start to feel old.  I’d like to get out when I’m on top. I will miss the comradery with the members and the kids,” added Archie.

Even though Archie is retiring, he’s not giving up his signature smiley face just yet. If you see Archie around Spokane, all you have to do is ask.

“Absolutely, if they provide the materials. I don’t pack around a marker,” added Archie.

 

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