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Electrical contractor celebrates 25 years

Joe and Judy Simon have put aside marital issues to run their New Richmond business, Simon Electric.

"You have to be totally respectful of the other person at all times," Judy said. "If not it could destroy the relationship. You have to leave home at home and work at work, otherwise you might not have either in the end."

She also cites communication as a primary factor of running a successful business with a spouse.

Simon Electric began back in June of 1983 when Joe, an out-of-work electrician, decided he should start charging people for small jobs he was doing.

Graduating from TVI electrical school in the Twin Cities in 1982, Joe entered a slow construction period and couldn't get a job, so he started working with his father as a hog broker.

However, it wasn't long before Joe was back using his electrical skills. According to Judy, many people in town knew Joe was handy as an electrician and began seeking his help with projects.

At first, Joe didn't charge people for his help, but as the number of people asking for help increased, and he began needing to purchase equipment, he started charging for his work.

Not charging by the hour, Joe took payments for what he thought the job warranted. Soon after figuring out he was putting in more time on jobs than he was charging, Joe decided to start a business for himself.

Simon Electric was first located in downtown New Richmond at 205 West Second Street. Judy began working for Joe as an office manager in 1988, and it was two years later the couple married.

In 1996 the City purchased the business's building and cleared the land for a parking lot. It was then that Simon Electric moved to their new building at 345 St. Croix Avenue, in the City's south industrial park.

"It's the only building with teal parking lot lights," Judy said of the building's uniquely colored exterior.

Today the business is thriving, despite a struggling construction industry, according to Judy.

"We have been blessed," she said.

She also cites her husband's tenacity at figuring out problems as a factor in their business's success. According to Judy, Joe began making a name for himself, even before starting his own company, as a person who could fix just about anything.

"He would never quit," Judy said of her husband's perseverance. "He would always figure it out in the end, no matter how long it took."

There are differences from when the Simons first began in the electrical industry. Judy says that ongoing trends for customers "going green" are some of the biggest differences today.

"We have realized how important it is to go green and save the customer money and to cut down on global warming," Judy said.

Simon Electric has experience with industrial, commercial, residential, health care and institutional electrical projects. Simon Electric's employees total 40-60, depending upon the job.

The company is a fully insured and bonded contractor with Joe Simon holding a state electrical designer license. Simon does business in both the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin. They also handle various size jobs ranging from large-scale projects to a 15 minute service call.

The Simons have made their business a family affair, not only with the husband and wife team manning the business, but with their children too.

Today, Joe and Judy Simon also have two daughters working as administrative staff and two sons-in-law working as electricians.