Guest Blog: New Member Justin Miller/Mr. Appliance

The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome new member, Justin Miller, Mr. Appliance of West Central IN. 
Learn more about Justin and Mr. Appliance below:
In the course of events, our business, Mr. Appliance of West Central Indiana, based in Crawfordsville, recently acquired the rights to operate the Mr. Appliance franchise in Terre Haute. It has proven very providential for us and we are very grateful. But we don’t know anyone in the town. Eager to do some networking, because I believe in the power of building relationships, we naturally joined the Chamber of Commerce — just a few days before the scheduled Luncheon with the Governor! I couldn’t pass that up, I signed up right away.
I waited till the day before to ask about the dress code and was informed it was “business attire”. I checked in with my style advisor Antonio Centeno of and learned that this means a dark suit, usually blue or grey, the idea being to not stand out and show respect. Great! Except I don’t really have that. I have the black three-piece I wore for my wedding and a sports coat. But this is lunch with the governor, I should dress appropriately!
Praise be to God, Terre Haute has a Men’s Wearhouse! I had an early meeting with the team in Brazil and then got to MW just as Randi opened the door at 11:00. I explained to her my embarrassing predicament and she really came to my aid. I had worn my cleanest Red Cap work pants, white shirt, blue tie and brown sports coat, just in case. Would I be able to find something better than that in half an hour? Fortunately there were not many choices for me in my size, really only one suit! And they were having a great sale, so it turned out really perfect. With a temporary hem I was on my way, liking the way I looked, as guaranteed.
I haven’t been to the ISU campus in over 20 years since the Summer Honors program in 1997. I wasn’t really sure where to park or where to go, but it wasn’t too hard and I soon found myself checking in, right on time.
I was directed to find a seat at one of the open tables at the back. Just as I was trying to figure out where to sit,  a man walked up and asked if the seats were open, so we both sat down and I met Tim Ramseier, executive director of Youth For Christ. He showed me his card and I knew he was a Christian. I said, “well, I was about to say a prayer, so…” He asked me if he might offer the prayer and I said, “please”. I was happy to share that moment.
We hit it off well and he was pleased to learn that we do appliance repair in the area. His comments were that there are not many people doing that. Besides that, unlike the others, we do only in-home appliance service calls. We don’t have a shop or office, we just do house calls. We don’t do HVAC, plumbing, electrical or handyman work, we only repair all brands of major home appliances in the kitchen and the laundry. We also do dryer vent cleaning. Tim also talked about what his organization does.
The lunch served was a beef tenderloin, which I am sure was amazing. But I saw someone else had been given a vegan dish alternative, and they gave me one, even though they did not have many. Very gracious service. It was called a “Wellington”, roasted mushroom and veggies in a biscuit, with a tangy sauce — wow good and great service!
The program was very simple with a welcome from the Chamber board chair, the Pledge of Allegiance led by a local student and her mentor, the introduction of the governor by the president of the University, then Q&A with the governor by the President of the Chamber. The governor clearly enjoyed the whole experience. He was very comfortable in his boots, fluent and articulate in his answers, handy with the microphone, ready with his numbers, but not at all scripted. I couldn’t tell whether he had been given these questions ahead or not.
In brief, my key take-aways:
  • Yes we have challenges, but this governor is eager, energetic and optimistic to face them as opportunities for growth, goodwill and greatness.
  • These world-wide challenges include changing workforce, substance abuse, and aging infrastructure.
  • The solutions include selling the Indiana story and success, caring for our weakest neighbors, especially on the local level, and investing in the future
As I consider one of my fundamental identities that of “Hoosier”, it was a privilege to hear some straight talk from the chief Hoosier. I applaud the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce for arranging this fine event. I thank the University banquet service for providing a world-class experience. I look forward to networking with the chamber members and getting to know the community we are now serving.

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