As one of Thermo King’s longest-standing dealerships, Thermo King Christensen has much to celebrate in 2021. Formed in 1946 to offer automotive welding and rebuilding in Omaha, Nebraska, the company added Thermo King products to its mix in 1956 and became an exclusive dealer and service facility in 1959 when Oscar and Lois Christensen took the helm and saw the potential in transport refrigeration.
Fast-forward to today, and the Christensen family has not only capitalized on that potential but turned it into a business known for building long-lasting relationships and taking care of its customers with service, honesty, diversified offerings that meet evolving needs, and true midwestern hospitality.
It also took midwestern work ethic, faith, and commitment. From the start, Oscar promised his employees 40 hours a week – easy in the summer months but difficult in winters. The business was Oscar’s fourth baby and he and Lois would spend many hours at the shop with their two daughters and son sleeping in the office.
“Oscar was always committed to taking care of his family – both at work and at home and making this business a success. He built the foundation we continue to nurture today,” said Don Kaiser, son-in-law and president. “And at 83, Oscar continues to check in and is proud to see his business growing and evolving.”
Evolving is one key Thermo King Christensen has embraced to ensure longevity and success. This includes growth in service offerings through the years including rentals, used equipment, parts, and rail, as well as the opening of a service only location in Grand Island, Nebraska, and a second full-service dealership in Sioux City, Iowa.
Today, the dealership has 100 employees and continues to cultivate a family culture that Oscar and Lois instilled. Besides Don, son-in-law Mike Morris is vice president, and Don has three sons involved in the business as well.
“There are new challenges – some generational, some just the changing technologies, but our focus remains to take care of our employees and our customers,” said Mike. “We have many employees who have been with us 20+ years and that feels good. We now need to master ways to retain the younger workforce, which tends to move around more.”
That commitment to success and taking care of its family of employees remains strong, and Don and Mike are excited to see Thermo King Christensen continue to grow. “We traditionally hold a big customer appreciation lunch each year but that has been on hold due to the pandemic,” they said. “We hope to celebrate this milestone with our customers and employees sometime later this year.”
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