When it comes to a community approach to doing business, Groom’s Appliance has exemplified this standard of quality. Having earned the distinction of the best heating and cooling business in Lee’s Summit, Groom’s strives to extend services that have a close family feel within a professional business setting. It is this approach that has weathered the test of time by not only strengthening a family whose roots run deep in the community but also reinforcing the bond between a city and a family who has experienced true adversity.
In 1986, Groom’s Appliance opened for business spearheaded by Mark Groom. Mark started in appliance repair but would go and work at people’s houses, bring these appliances into his home and repair them in his garage. Then he extended into heating and cooling and specialized in the replacement of them.
Mark’s training began long before. His dad, Wayne Groom, was also a man skilled in repairs and often taught his son while fixing other’s appliances on the side. By the time Mark had reached high school, he was working at Hartley’s, further perfecting his craft and priming him for his own business. As an adult, Mark taught his own son, Chad, and his nephew, Devin, the same tactical skills which would eventually serve the business well.
The Groom’s family connections in Lee’s Summit run even deeper. Mark Groom’s wife, Kelli, also came from a family of Lee’s Summit pioneers. Her mom is Haroldine Nieweg, who graduated from Lee’s Summit High School in 1949 and was part of the first Lee’s Summit’s women’s basketball team. She also left her mark as prom queen and a yearbook member, and she eventually became the very first Ms. Lee’s Summit.
As an adult, Haroldine worked for the government while supporting her family. Granddaughter Alana Bloom remarks that Haroldine never missed anything that they ever did—from athletics to college graduations—and that she was most fond of watching basketball. She was strong, opinionated, and never swayed in her beliefs, much like both of Alana’s parents, Mark and Kelli. Alana adds that both of her parents, their siblings and cousins also graduated from LSHS where they were an active part of the school. Both Alana and her brother graduated from LSHS as well and were greatly involved in athletics.
To say that the Groom Family have embraced the Lee’s Summit community and have become part of its rich history would be an understatement. But the Grooms are just as significant to this town. There is no better exemplification of this than by the community outreach after the heartbreaking passing of Mark and Kelli Groom in August 2015 following a tragic traffic accident. The city and school that had been a prominent backdrop in the Grooms’ lives had now become a blanket during a time of difficulty.
“LSHS has supported our family for over 30 years professionally and personally when we lost our parents,” Alana says. “We gained a lot of new customers to keep us thriving just because they heard our story.
“My parents had over 3,000 people at their visitation and many at their funeral. It was pretty incredible the amount of support we received from the community. We hope that we can be there for the community like they have been here for us. Lee’s Summit is very important to our family.”
Today Alana’s brother, Chad—who is the owner—and her cousin, Devin, all work together to ensure that the legacy of Groom’s Appliance remains customer-centered. They are also extending their gratitude by giving back to the community that has meant so much to them through nonmonetary community involvement with the schools, fire and police departments. They hope to continue their philanthropic efforts addressing teen suicide and making contributions to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Above all, the family hopes the pride they have in Lee’s Summit will resonate in all they do.
“Groom’s Appliance is a company that is honest, has integrity and is for the customer,” Alana says. “We want Groom’s to feel like family. One of the many stories we hear about our dad all include basically the same thing. When he would come over, he would sit down at their table and have ‘coffee talk’ with them and get to know the family. Many people say they would ask him to stay for dinner. That was the kind of man he was and really what made Groom’s Appliance what it is today.”