Closer connections: Electrical supplier’s Dickinson warehouse helps customers

By Virginia There are certain electrical supplies, certain breaker panels, that are available only through one supplier in Dickinson, said Rick Mellmer, a Dickinson electrician of 40 years and vice presiden...

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Press Photo by Dustin Monke Jason Bloomgren, who works on the city desk for Dakota Supply Group, chats with account manager Darin Rusch on Thursday in the company’s warehouse.

By Virginia Grantier
There are certain electrical supplies, certain breaker panels, that are available only through one supplier in Dickinson, said Rick Mellmer, a Dickinson electrician of 40 years and vice president of Berger Electric Co.
That’s why he’s glad that that one supplier, Dakota Supply Group (commonly known as DSG) has opened an office and warehouse in Dickinson, ending years of his having to order and then wait for a DSG truck to bring supplies from its Bismarck store to Dickinson.
It really helps in situations that are beyond routine.
“We have a lot of emergency calls,” Mellmer said.
So instead of Berger’s employees having to run to Bismarck in an emergency, those supplies are here at DSG’s Dickinson location, which opened last year at 380 29th St. E.
“They’re very good to work with, very helpful,” Mellmer said.
And being so close, he also can pick up supplies at the spur of the moment, he said.
Other people are glad, too, about DSG’s Dickinson location - including Stacey Olson, operations manager of DSG’s Dickinson location.
Olson, who has 27 years experience in the electrical field, said in addition to being able to better service DSG customers - long-time customers she knows on a first-name basis - she was glad for the transfer from Bismarck to Dickinson as she has family in Medora and Dickinson, including a grandchild. She grew up in Medora, which is still the summer home for her parents.
Other possible benefits for Dickinson: Todd Kumm, DSG’s chief executive officer, said the company, established in 1898 - and which has 31 locations, six in North Dakota, the rest servicing South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Montana - gives each employee $250 at Christmas to give to the charity the employee chooses.
Kumm said he thinks Dickinson-based DSG employees will give that money to Dickinson charities.
The company also awards college scholarships to students going into engineering or trades. And on an ongoing basis, DSG helps the community, Olson said.
“We donate to any cause as long as it’s local - the Lions Club … medical donations,” she said.
Technically, DSG is a company of 650 owners.
Olson said the company is 100 percent owned by its 650 employees and was named recently the the best Employee Stock Ownership Plan company in the nation by the national ESOP Association in Washington, D.C. There are about 10,000 ESOP companies nationally.
“The company is hugely profitable for the owners - us,” Olson said.
Olson said the employees have a huge say in company operations through its ESOP committee, suggestion box and other outlets. And she said the company president, Tom Rosendahl, a strong believer in ESOP companies, has taken various steps including sending people to Washington to discuss issues important to ESOP companies in meetings with Congressional members.
Kumm, based out of Fargo, said the oil boom was part of the reason DSG opened an office here - as well as wanting to better serve existing Dickinson customers. He said DSG signed a 10-year lease for the current location. He guesses it’ll be about five years before they consider building their own building.
Kumm said Olson was picked for the Dickinson operations manager position because “she has a lot of experience in the industry, she knows about the community and she wanted to live there - and she has the demeanor to be manager and run that office.”
Olson said the 10,000-square-foot facility, overseen by nine employees, is a busy place with a delivery service option, or customers can stop by and pick up items. Olson said the Dickinson office works on the about 20 bid proposals per week, requested by area electricians.
She said DSG will provide quotes on everything from small jobs to workshops, retail stores, hospitals, schools, etc.
She said one unique job in particular was for a horse barn that included a bar and recreation room.
“I could have lived there,” she said with a laugh.
Currently, the Dickinson location specializes in electrical supplies, but Olson said she hopes to expand in the future when they have a bigger facility.
DSG offers, in some of its other stores, supplies for other trades such as plumbing supplies, heating, cooling, utilities, waterworks, communications, automation and metering technologies.
Olson said she thinks one thing that’s special about their operation is that they know the names, hobbies and families of their customers.
She said one of the company mottos is the following: “It’s not about us. It’s about our customers.”

Grantier is a reporter for The Dickinson Press. Contact her at 701-225-8111.

Stacey Olson
Dakota Supply Group's operations manager Stacey Olson stands near DSG’s warehouse shelves at its north Dickinson facility.

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