Business Owners Speak Out: Spotlighting Lorain County’s Businesses: March 5, 2021

Here’s an interview with local business owners with amazing insights into today’s challenges.

ActionCOACH’s Mark Phelps virtually sits down with Mindy Nielsen and Spencer Ryan of the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce and dives into what’s really happening.

Check out their inspiring story for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic, and learn how to avoid making common mistakes.

And, most importantly, visit the company website to view their full offerings.

Ryan – St. Marie Insurance – Mindy Nielsen, Agent & Spencer Ryan, Owner

Ryan St. Marie is an independent insurance agency in Lorain County since 1999. In March of last year, they moved to their new building at 105 Cleveland Street, the old Decker building. They do home and auto insurance as well as business insurance, Life and Health Insurance.



Mark Phelps (MP): Who is your target customer?
Mindy Nielsen & Spencer Ryan (MN, SR): Our personal line clients are incredibly diverse, all the way from kids that are in dorms, to baby boomers in a single-family dwelling, and everything in between. On the commercial side there is no limit. We write every type of business imaginable; it doesn’t matter if they’re big or small!  We write a lot of smaller artisan contractors, your plumbers, drywallers, carpenters, electricians, your landscapers, and we handle them just like we handle our larger accounts.



MP: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
MN, SR: We closed our office on March 23 for the safety of our staff and we sent everybody home. Then all the rebates started coming back and complicating things! Our two primary companies, Erie Insurance and Westfield insurance, were very proactive, giving individuals rebates on their insurance. That was great because people were using their cars less, and your insurance premium is calculated based on how much you use your car.



MP: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
MN, SR: We were proactively calling and adjusting our commercial client’s sales projections midterm, which we normally would never do. We were being proactive, reaching out to customers to see if we needed to adjust their sales projections or increase their deductible for the short term.



MP: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes you have made over the years that other entrepreneurs could learn from?
MN: I would say the hardest part with what we do is listening to the customer fully to understand what is needed, versus us trying to solve the problem at hand. Just listen, especially right now.

SR: I would say be humble. You cannot walk into a customer who has been doing their business for 20 years, and say, I understand exactly what you need. We take the time to really understand their business.



MP: What is most inspiring to you today?
MN, SR: People’s grit to survive. People are going to scrap, scrape, scratch and claw their way to survive this thing. Those that come out on the backside of this thing are going to be stronger, they are going to be the Phoenix is coming out of the ashes. If anything COVID has taught, its taught us a lot about ourselves.



Contact: Connect with the team at Ryan-St. Marie by phone: 440.322.3200 or visit their website: If you have any questions regarding your insurance, we are here to help. We are here to advise you and help you.