Interview with Stephanie Larson
This year marks the 85th anniversary of the Gustave A. Larson Company. The company outgrew the 1936 original store front in Madison, Wisconsin long before today, and by the 1960’s there were over 20 additional locations in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Florida. To date, the Gustave A. Larson Company employs 400+ team members who serve customers in 16 Midwest, Plains and Mountain states throughout 50+ locations.
The company has been built from the ground up by Gustave A. Larson himself, his son Karl Larson, and Karl’s sons, Scott and Andrew Larson.
The Marketing team had the honor to interview owner Scott Larson’s daughter, Stephanie Larson. She is one of the 4th generation Larsons taking a walk in their great-grandfather’s footsteps by working at the company. In the interview, Stephanie stated “Growing up I was mostly kept in the dark about company, until college. When I finally did get involved, it was after I turned 18. I’ve spent summers here working on projects, and this year I’ve taken on more responsibility. I feel grateful that I have been instilled with not expecting things to just be given or handed out to me. My parents have always encouraged my siblings and I to spread our own wings and pursue our own interests or what we are passionate about.”
When asked what she favored most about being a part of a family who owned and operated their own business, Stephanie said “One of my favorite parts is when people who have known me since I was little tell me stories about my grandpa or my dad.” She then explained how her grandma also played a big role in working for the company, after her grandpa Karl took over the business from his father Gustave. While raising a family, working as a nurse, and going to night school, her grandmother eventually started working at Gustave A. Larson Company full time! Stephanie said, “One of the biggest things my grandma showed future generations is what it looked like to work hard while supporting the man she loved.”
Wondering if there had been anything she thought was instilled in her due to having a family-run company, Stephanie said “A big thing for me is that I was taught to follow my passions whether it has to do with the company or not, and to follow through on my obligations and responsibilities”. Stephanie also shared that her parents have always given her “a safe space to explore what I’m passionate about and never put pressure on my siblings or I to take over the company.”
Stephanie stated that one of the most important things she remembers about being with her dad while he was at work was, “I grew up watching my dad have a genuine passion for building relationships with the people he worked with and his employees and seeing that has shown me such an important life lesson on building authentic relationships and giving me the confidence to build those relationships”.
When she got older and started scratching the surface of understanding the ins and outs of running the business, Gustave A. Larson Company taught her just how much actually goes into running a successful one. She says that “getting a better understanding of the business world, and realizing business is everywhere has played a huge role in my decision to pursue a minor in business.”
Looking at the company through Stephanie Larson’s eyes showed just how rich in history the company truly is.
To learn more about the Gustave A. Larson Company, visit our “About Us” page!