Hometown Hero: Chris Miller, at your service
September 23, 2013
Craig — In order to stay formidable, small-business owners must be willing to offer that little something extra that larger outlets can't. For Chris Miller, that element always is keeping the customer the top priority.
Miller, the owner of Miller Family Appliance, makes the satisfaction of his customers and the community as a whole the focus of his business. And he's been busy doing that since he set up shop in Craig.
The store opened its doors in early 2005, selling the typical offerings: washers, dryers, stoves, dishwashers, refrigerators and microwaves. But, what you will find in this particular establishment that you won't in your standard department store is Miller himself, a salesman who stands by his products and possesses the repairman know-how to keep things running smoothly.
"I think we offer a lot of pride and service after each sale," he said. "We like to take care of our customers because a happy customer is going to come back to you. If you've got a problem, we can usually have it fixed reasonably quick, and if it's something that can't be fixed, I'll just switch out the machine. I don't like to mess around with that too much."
Besides those shopping his own inventory, Miller is a big supporter of "buying local" in businesses throughout town.
Likewise, he thinks local businesses have a duty to keep their community strong by supporting good works. In the past, Miller has lended a hand with ventures like the KRAI Holiday Drive and the outreach of St. Michael Catholic Church.
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"It amazes me what people can give with those things," he said.
Miller has volunteered in other areas, too. Craig Sea Sharks, Moffat County High School, Boys & Girls Club of Craig and the annual CrabFest all have benefited from his assistance. If you attended the recent Taste of Home Cooking School, you'd have seen much of the contents of the sales floor at Miller Family Appliance on display.
But moving heavy-duty appliances can't be done by one man alone, and the key word in the Miller Family Appliance name is the one in the middle.
Of Miller's five children — Noah, Caleb, Gabby, Garrett and Jordanna — three of them have worked at the store, with Garrett and Jordanna still on staff.
Jordanna's married name is Duncan, but she's still a Miller when she's at work.
"I've been here since before day one," she said. "He takes very good care of me, maybe more than some employers would, and I get to bring my kids in here, and there are a lot of mothers that don't have that. They get to see their Papa."
Even employees who aren't related feel like part of the family. Tammy Thorpe, who was hired in January, said she enjoys being part of the Miller clan because of her boss's approach to business.
"He's really good with the community," she said.
It's a give and take, Miller said, with his small but loyal workforce.
"I wouldn't be able to get the things done that I get done if I didn't have the support behind me," he said.
Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.