Jim Theisen Awarded the Kiesau Award
At the Mid States Rendezvous Awards Banquet, Sunday August 20th, Jim Theisen was awarded the distinguished Kiesau Award, given to those who have made a significant impact in the Mid States’ group. Jim, surrounded by his family, proudly accepted the award, humbled to be recognized for his impacted. Attached are some pictures from the awards.
For the Award’s background, I’ve inserted a summary below and a link explaining how Bob and Jean Kiesau started Mid States.
CONGRATULATIONS TO JIM!! We are proud to be a part of your success.
Our Founders – Bob and Jean Kiesau
In the early 1950s, Bob and Jean Kiesau were driving through Illinois on their way from a Florida vacation when they noticed a billboard that advertised discounts on automotive parts for “fleet” operators. It struck the Kiesaus that farmers probably all own five or more vehicles, so they would qualify for the “fleet” discounts. All they needed was a “fleet” card to verify that they were “fleet” operators. Bob and Jean took the risk and decided to open new stores built around this concept. Farmers flocked to his stores with their cards in hand. The idea was the beginning of modern discount merchandising.
Soon others heard of the idea and eventually people like the Mills brothers, Harold Bomgaars and Claude Blain began traveling to Grand Forks to learn more about this new “fleet store” concept. The Kiesaus gladly shared information regarding their operation and, without realizing it, began a tradition of sharing “best practices” that is still carried on today. In 1953, they formed a consortium to pool their buying power – “Mid-States Buying Group” was born. Their product lines soon expanded from automotive to farm supplies and even household goods based on their customers’ needs.