Family-owned Stassen Insurance is proof that excellent customer service and attention to detail are among the keys to a long and successful business. This summer the Woodstock company is commemorating 50 years of being in business.
The staff celebrated with an open house June 23. Customers, friends, former employees and families attended the party held in the parking lot adjacent to the office at 1662 S. Eastwood Drive.
The company is run by second-generation insurance agent John Stassen and his wife, Susan, but one of the founding employees still works full time for the company.
At 88 years of age, Carole Stassen shows up to the office six days a week and is an active member of the staff of 12.
“I’m still quite involved,” said Stassen, who performs quality control and services a few of her longtime customers. “My motivation is that I love to work. I get up, have two cups of coffee, read the paper and I’m ready to go.”
She and her husband Henry E. Stassen started the company out of their home at 842 Clay St., Woodstock, with one customer.
Eventually outgrowing the home office, Stassen occupied office space at 1370 N. Seminary Ave. and finally moved to their current location in 2004.
Born in a house on Todd Street, Stassen has lived in Woodstock all her life. “I graduated from the school of hard knocks,” she said, explaining that in the 1940s a very small percentage of women went to college. With the onset of World War II, she began working at the age of 14.
She noted the changes she’s seen over the years in how the company conducts daily business, especially in technology. “We innovate as we have to, to keep up with the industry,” she said.
John and Susan took over ownership in 1997 while their three children were young.
“Our kids grew up here [at the office],” said Susan Stassen.
It is yet to be seen if the company will find leadership from the next generation of the family. But Carole Stassen said, “I don’t see my son retiring anytime soon. He’s a workaholic.”
Described by her coworkers as strong, tough, the rock and the glue that holds them all together, Carole Stassen doesn’t have any immediate plans for stepping down.
“It’s been my life for 50 years. I love to work and be around people,” she said.
An independent insurance agency that has been successfully serving Illinois, Wisconsin and 15 other states, Stassen Insurance has a tradition of friendly, reliable and competitively priced services. Services include personal, business and truck insurance.
“We care about our customers and they trust us,” said Carole Stassen.