Mitten’s: From wringer washers to smartphone apps
By Kris Leonhardt
Continued from previous edition
Along with an expansion in retail space, came an expansion in product offers as Mitten’s added furniture to their appliance sales.
“Expanding to the furniture came as the Swanson’s Furniture Store had a major fire and couldn’t quite recover,” recalled C.W. Mitten.
C.W. had worked in the store with his father during his high school years.
“I came on in 1997 helping out in deliveries and warehouse upkeep,” he said. “Went to college at (UW-Green Bay) and came back in 2005 to an always inviting small town community.”
In 2013, Bill Mitten, Wayne Radlinger, and Chuck Kaufman decided to retire and the business gained new owners, as C.W. went into a partnership with some familiar faces at the store
“John Sikora has been with Mitten’s Furniture Appliance and Electronics for almost 30 years (after) he got out of the Navy. Jay Smith has been at the store since 2000. Pete Hafermann has been with the store since his junior year of high school – during his school-to-work program with Marshfield High School in 1999,” C.W. said.
“Talking with others having similar businesses, we have found our dynamic different because each one of us has a very important role.”
Mitten added that several longtime employees have played a significant role in the success of the business and that longevity comes from its people – past and present staff and owners.
“We are truly one of the last full-service companies in our area with furniture, appliances, and electronics,” he added. “If we don’t have an answer to a problem, we will always find a solution. Our service department has countless years of experience. Our owners will always work the sales floor and work in repair, not just at a desk. The consistent friendly faces keep our company growing and moving forward.”
Through the years, Mitten’s has seen a variety of changes – from wringer washers to smartphone apps – with very few things remaining the same. C.W. notes that Speed Queen is one of those exceptions.
“Speed Queen is an old school brand built in Ripon that out performs most on our sales floor,” Mitten said.
“The future of our business is exciting. We will have to adapt with times of more technology in everything. With technology comes greater energy efficiencies and added customized features. It also has its challenges with service-related questions, but everyone thought the automatic washer from Maytag was a fad and we’ve sold them for over 50 years.”