70 Years/3 Generations
Hearing Aid Institute is celebrating 70 years in business. While 70 years is impressive, what is even more notable is that the company currently has three generations of the same family working at providing the best hearing solutions to those who have experienced hearing loss. Hearing Aid Institute is a family operated business. The VanDeRiet family has been serving the hearing needs of Montana for over 45 years.
Don VanDeRiet purchased the business in 1986 from the Genest family who founded HAI in 1944. Don was raised in the Great Falls community, his grand father homesteaded on the Fairfield bench. Don began working in the hearing aid industry at 18 years old. He believes Zig Ziglars quote, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” Don has always been a hard worker and a great leader. He was destined to create a great company. When he bought Hearing Aid Institute in 1986 it came with only one employee, and he grew the company from there.
In 1988 his daughter, Sandy, joined the company and then in 1989 his son, Mike, also joined. Both have become licensed hearing aid dispensers and have carried on the passion that Don has for helping people hear better. At one point they had offices in six states and over 50 employees. These days they have six offices covering two states and have 25 employees.
In 2009 the company was merged with Starkey HearCare. The company is no longer solely owned by Don, but the family continues to manage it.
Also in 2009, Sandy’s daughter, Tanya, came to work for Hearing Aid Institute. Don, Sandy and Mike continue to sell hearing aids and take care of patients. Sandy also manages the offices and Tanya helps with training, computer issues, hearing aid orders, and repairs.
It is a wonderful achievement in any company or industry to have three generations involved. “We work together, we play together.” We plan on being around for our patients for years to come.