Claussens owners Terry and Lori Claussen, center, were presented with the Business of the Year award at the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner Jan. 19. Making the presentation were Mike Wells, left, 2023 chamber president and Michaela Brown, right, 2022 chamber president.
LE MARS The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner offered chamber members an opportunity to celebrate the past year and its accomplishments.
One of the highlights of the evening Thursday, Jan. 19, a the Le Mars Convention Center, was the announcement of the Business of the Year.
Michaela Brown, 2022 chamber president, started that presentation by saying, The 2022 Business of the year has been making Le Mars look good for 32 years. From a formal tux to a casual jean and everything in between.
It didnt take much more for the audience to know the honored business was. Clausens.
Quality clothing, excellent customer service and all the little things that go unnoticed is what has gained the community support to help this business thrive for over three decades. Generations of young men have been fitted for their prom, homecoming and wedding party attire, Brown said.
Its that same customer service and around the clock dependability that has set them apart throughout those generations.
They are always willing to help you find the perfect gift wrap it, and slip it into that trademark plastic bag that has become so familiar to all of us here in Le Mars, all while offering additional services like alterations and custom suits and shirts to, once again, put the customer needs at the forefront of their business, she continued.
In those 32 years of business, Terry and Lori have continued to give back to heir community. Terry served as the President of the Chamber of Commerce, and the Sertoma Club. And they support the Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic Booster Clubs. Terry is currently a Chamber Ambassador and he and Lori can always be found at chamber coffees, charities and events, encouraging their fellow business owners and community members.
As a boss, Terrys current and former employees have reflected on his flexible, caring, and relaxed work environment, and it was clear that they all have felt like part of the family and lifelong friends. He has also become a wise business mentor to many of the young business owners sitting here in this room.
Over the past three decades, the Le Mars main street has seen many stores come and go. Over the past three decades we have seen many fashions come and go. But right in the heart of Le Mars, on the corner, sits a fashion store icon that we all hope will be sending those iconic Claussens bags up and down main street for 32 more years, Brown said.
She then asked for a round of applause to the 2022 Business of the Year Claussens.
With loud applause and a standing ovation, Terry and Lori Claussen slowly made their way to the stage to receive the honor, presented by Brown and incoming chamber president Mike Wells.
Terry took a moment before stepping up to the podium.
When you say three generations, it really makes me sound old. Thank you, he said.
Gathering his thoughts he continued, Le Mars is a great town, and has some great people here. Ive enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks to my wife, my kids, my staff, its all been good. And I look forward to more years.
Brown didnt get too far into the presentation before Terry Claussen knew it was his business being honored.
Yes, I was surprised to receive the honor, Claussen said later.
Obviously, a lot of things were going through my head as she read it, he said. But when its all said and done, Im very appreciative and humbled by the whole thing.
Claussen began his career in Sibley, and came to Le Mars in 1990.
Ive been in business 44 years, going on 45, but its been 32 years in Le Mars, he said. I reflected a little bit about it, and now Im working in a couple cases, with the third generation of families who have been coming in and so thats kind of cool.
Hes quick to point out that the community, his customers and his employees are what have made the business what it is today.
When you get down to it, we made it because we have a good community, and some good loyal customers over the years. I also have to give credit to the employees I have now and a lot of past employees. Over the years I have had the privilege of working with some good people, and thats all made it good, he said.
For Claussen and his employees, giving good customer service is a top priority.
The customers are what make this place run, he said. And in a day of maybe its where customer service is almost nonexistent, I still think its important to give that service. People are still looking for some guidance, and some help, and so I think we try to do the best we can and you know, its about what we do, thats the cornerstone of what we do here, he continued. Its something we do everyday, but sometimes its just the little things.
He notes, too, with the growth of online business, he still feels theres room for businesses that provide some good hands-on customer service, with face-to-face contact.
Claussen admits he got a little bit emotional at the presentation.
None of us do it for the awards. To be recognized is all the better but I think it just shows what people feel about the community. We just have a good thing going here and were proud to be a part of it, Claussen said.