Someone You Should Know: Whiffer’s One-Woman Operation
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- From a massive stuffed animal collection to a classic feel, there’s plenty to catch your eye, and your taste buds at Whiffer’s Sandwich shop. The deli located in an old house in northern Sioux Falls has been serving the area for nearly 40 years, and the woman behind it all doesn’t plan on closing anytime soon.
To the community of Sioux Falls, she is known as “Whiffer.”
“And she changed my diaper and said, look at the little “Whiffer” and it stuck,” says Whiffer Randall as she recalls what her mother said.
Randall’s birth name is Cecelia, but the nickname “Whiffer” was given to her by her mother, who knew a man by the same name. Now the name is known all around Sioux Falls. It’s the name of Randall’s sandwich shop on the corner of Minnesota Avenue and Bailey Street. A shop that she says many didn’t believe she could open back in the late 70s.
“38 years later, so don’t let anybody tell you, that you can’t do something,” says Randall.
Whiffer says after a ten-year career of teaching, she decided it was time for a change. She visited a sandwich place in Florida and was inspired to open her own in 1978.
“I mean it was wild, they would line up. I was the only deli way back,” says Randall.
Back then she had five employees, but the operation has gotten smaller nearly four decades later. At 83 years old, Whiffer is the owner and the only person working there, making all the food herself. Despite all the responsibilities, she loves every minute of it.
“I said when I open, I’m going to have quality and quantity and fun, that’s all it took,” says Randall.
Speaking of quantity, she spends her days working solo, but she’s not alone. 220 stuffed animals, all pigs are scattered around the shop. Customers have helped add to her collection.
“I was given Miss Piggy, who I adore years ago, and people bring me pigs, not live ones and it’s just grown,” says Randall.
It’s a unique quirk– to match a unique menu. Each sandwich name has a story behind it.
“El Gordittio was named after Gordy, a friend. Barnstormer Blue Max, my husband, and son flew planes,” says Randall.
Whiffer is proud of how far her shop has come and attributes much of her success to a food critic, writing a piece on the restaurant in the local paper back in the day.
“And that just sort of sprung Whiffers, so I have him to thank,” says Randall.
Though many her age are usually enjoying retirement, Whiffer still craves the challenge of the small business world and isn’t ready to hang it up.
“Enjoy what you do, that’s my opinion. If it’s just money and you don’t like what you are doing, I don’t think it’s worth it,” says Randall.
Whiffer says at the end of the day, she feels she has lived a great full life and is thankful for the moments; she still has with her family.
“Six grandchildren who live in Sioux Falls, so they are some of my best customers,” says Randall.
A name that just stuck during childhood continues to stick around in Sioux Falls. The shop is open Monday through Friday from 11 to 3 p.m.