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Business of the Month: May 2022

Jensen-Akins Appliances/ Hardware/ Docks



VCEDC May Business of the Month

Congratulations to

Jensen-Akins Appliances/Hardware/Docks

156 Highway 45 

Conover, WI 54519

Phone: (715) 479-8427

https://www.jensenakins.com/


We were delighted recently to spend some time with Judi Akins, Co-Owner with her husband, John, to share the story of Jensen-Akins Hardware & Appliance in Conover.

Judi, you have been part of the Conover community for more than three decades.  Tell us how Jensen-Akins started.

Jensen-Akins Hardware & Appliance has been serving this area, Conover and the region, for more than 30 years.  Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction, providing knowledgeable support, the best brands at the best price, while delivering outstanding, friendly, customer service. Not to mention, when you buy local you’ll be supporting the local community. 

We live in the community and have the same needs as everyone else. I think it’s important as a business to serve those people who live in the community. One of the things that we feel is different, as John often says, is that we sell service, and we give products away. Many times, people come in and don’t know what they need. For example, a customer might say ‘I’m putting my dock in and think I need six of these items, but I’m not sure.’ And that’s where we come in to ask those important questions to find the perfect product to fit their needs and budget. 

It’s just making your community stronger by helping out. We live here and understand what people need and we want to be here to provide that service.

You kept the Jensen-Akins name of the business. Tell us why that was important to you. 

We were living in Chicago working in the manufacturing industry and decided to make a change.  When I was young my dad brought our family up here every year when school was out, and as an adult I spent summers here too.  John and I knew we wanted to make a change and move from Chicago.  So, John called around looking for a place to buy.  Up North is what our three children know too.  

With my connection to the Northwoods, and John growing up in retail with his parents having owned a hardware store in Iowa, the Conover store was a perfect fit. We became partners with Debbie and Roger Jensen (Jensen Hardware) for three years before the purchase was final.  We felt it was important to keep the Jensen name as their family and the business were so grounded in the community.  Debbie still works here a couple of days a week. Business has been good, and people are spending money.

Why is it important for you to give back to the community?

We live here and want to do our part to support the community.  For example, when the new Conover Community Center was completed recently we donated two refrigerators, a range, a microwave, and a built-in double-oven. The new park Center is awesome and there was a need.  Knowing how much it gets used, it was a way that we could contribute, and at the same time save the town some money.  We also sponsor and participate in Blizzard Blast, and provide donations to other local events including the fire department, the chamber, and other organizations in the area as we service more than just Conover.  

What is your business model for growth?

In addition to Conover, in 2012 we added a location in Three Lakes with our docks and boat lifts. At that time there really wasn’t anyone selling these so it seemed like a smart thing to do. There are still a lot of docks that need to be replaced. We’re here to help make the Northwoods a positive experience for our residents and tourists. 

What advice do you have for someone looking to go into business? 

John and I came from family business, and we’ve been fortunate to have grown this business to where, in addition to John and I, we have 19 on staff who manage our Hardware, Appliance, Service and Marine divisions.  We consider all of our employees family. 

For anyone that’s going into business, I have a plaque on my wall that I like to reference: 

“Don’t be afraid to go out on the limb because that’s where the fruit is. You have to be a risk taker. Not every decision is going to be a good one. Don’t be afraid, as all the good apples are at the end.”


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