Manufacturer honors local merchant
June 22, 2005 - By BILL MILLIGAN
For the Call
General Electric Company last week paid tribute to a local retailer who has been representing the brand for the past 60 years.
Russ Sullentrop, 82, has sold the appliances from his company's location at 944 Lemay Ferry since two days after his discharge from the Army on March 5, 1946.
His father started the company in June of 1945 while Russ was his son was still part of Gen. Douglas McArthur's Army that liberated the Pacific rim from the Japanese Empire.
"A man who spends that many years in the same place, with the same company – we need to take some time and honor him for that loyalty,'' said GE Sales Manager Robert Ziegler.
Sullentrop said GE dependability and customer service have made his company successful over the years even though he hasn't had money to spend on the "flashy ads'' his larger competitors
"GE has been awful good to us,'' Sullentrop said. "They're one of the best corporations in America.
"We've raised nine children with this business,'' he said. "We never got rich, but we've made a lot of friends.''
Russ and his wife, Belle, were married June 25, 1947. Their daughters include Carol of Columbia, Il., Connie of Clark, Co., Laurie of Scranton, Ks., Patty of St. Louis, Tari of Robertsville, Mo. and Mary of Crystal City, Mo. Two sons, Bill and Joe, are deceased.
"We did a little bit of everything to get the company going,'' he said. "I remember repairing those old ringer washers.''
His son John has been working with the company since he was 13 years of age. John has been operating the business for the past five years.
"Without John we wouldn't be here,'' Russ said. "He's been here for two decades already.''
But John wasn't buying.
"You don't stay in business for 60 years without someone like Russ,'' said his son. "Our biggest asset is his wisdom.''