We asked some of our long-time small business customers why they chose — and continue to choose — Wellmark for their health coverage. Here's the story of a third-generation family-owned business, Mahlander's Appliance and Lighting store.
A lot has changed since Mahlander's Appliance and Lighting External Site in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, first opened its doors in 1906. Big box stores have heated up local competition, online ordering has totally shifted customer expectations, and there are more ways to advertise than ever before.
But the 113-year-old, third-generation shop uses its longevity to its advantage. "We've been around a long time, and we aren't going anywhere," says Jason Miersma, general manager. A big part of that? Taking care of customers remains top-of-mind, no matter the decade. Knowledgeable staff help customers make the right decisions for their specific needs, and care and service doesn't stop after the sale. "We want you to come back," says Jason. "And, we want to earn your business for the rest of your life."
Where employees feel like family
From the showroom to the warehouse, 24 employees keep Mahlander's running. And when more than half of the staff have been there for at least 15 years, it says a lot about the workers and even more about the business. "One gal just celebrated 50 years — that's longer than Steve [Mahlstedt, the owner] himself!" Jason says.
"This place is a big part of our lives," says Jason. "When one of us isn't here, it feels like we're missing part of the family."
According to Jason, Steve likes to stay with people that he knows and trusts to take care of his customers and his employees. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has provided health coverage for his employees for 25 years.
"We appreciate that one-on-one interaction with Theresa [Kocer, account manager]," Jason says. "She's been with Wellmark a long time, which shows it's a good company that treats its employees well. And that way, you know they're going to pass that on to the consumers."
When you're in it for the long haul like Mahlander's, it's important to make decisions that will help your business be sustainable for years to come.
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About the series
We wanted to learn more about why some of our long-time small business customers continue to choose Wellmark for their health coverage in their own words. Trust, shared values, experience, longevity and understanding continually come to the forefront.
Thank you to Mahlander's Appliance and Lighting for sharing their story with us and for putting their customers first.