Mitten’s has it all – furniture, appliances, and longevity
By Kris Leonhardt
There are few that can remember a day, when Mitten’s Home Appliance wasn’t a presence in Marshfield. With 80 years in business, the company has been a mainstay in the community through generations – both ours and theirs.
The business found its start in September 1938 with Clarence W. (C.W.) Mitten, Sr.
“My great-grandfather surprisingly did many things back in the day, like others, and business was just one of them,” said C.W. Mitten.
“Mitten’s started in his living room, selling wood stoves, of all things. He was also the chairmen of the Wood County Board. So, when important political people would be coming through town he would help entertain them.
“Going through a few boxes my dad had in his basement, we came across letter from Hubert Humphries’ wife Muriel thanking my great grandparents for their hospitality during their visit, along with other things like official invitation to Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration. Needless to say my great grandfather started our great company, but my grandfather Clarence W. Mitten, Jr. really propelled it forward.”
Clarence Jr. became a partner in about 1944-45, when he returned from serving in the Army during World War II.
“At this point our company would be located in the back of Karau’s grocery store, but they purchased the building where the Spot Cafe was located. It was a 1,500 square foot building with an adjoining door to the Spot Bar in downtown Marshfield. Later this building was torn down to expand the Rogers Cinema,” explained C.W.
In 1956, Clarence Jr. bought out his father, and a decade later sold stock in the company to Herman Kaufman. The pair would later purchase a 10,000 square-foot building across the street.
In 1972, the next generation was ushered in as Clarence W. (Bill) Mitten III came back from serving in the Army to work at the store full time and attend college in Stevens Point.
“In 1978, my grandfather took on more partners in our community to further help with the growing business and that is when Bill Mitten, Wayne Radlinger, and Chuck Kaufman (Herman’s son) started in ownership of Mitten’s. In 1986, Clarence W. Mitten, Jr. retired and sold the rest of his ownership to the three. Herman Kaufman would have a few more years left before his retirement,” C.W. added.
Nearly a decade later, with a growing business and a need for more floor space, Mitten’s purchased their current location at 171 S. Central Ave., Marshfield, expanding to more than 40,000 square feet of space.
“Many people remember our building to this day as the Woolworth Department Store even though we have been here for almost 30 years,” C.W. said. “It is a neat experience when people bring up where the lunch counter used to be and other places in the store, as I just remember running around at the age of seven, when the guys were remolding before opening. “
Next week: Part II of Furniture, Appliances, and Longevity