Photo by Tucker Henderson
Lake County Insurance is located at 106 N Boardman in New York Mills. The insurance company has been a staple in the community since 1983.

By Chad Koenen


A second generation of the Stave family has taken over the New York Mills and Verndale branches of Lake Country Insurance. While Holly Barthel is closing in on her first anniversary of purchasing the business from her dad and founder Randy Stave, she continues to put an emphasis on quality insurance care and making sure the clients at Lake Country Insurance feel more like a member of their family, than just a number or file in a cabinet. 

“We know a lot of people by the voice on the phone,” said Barthel of the clients at Lake Country Insurance. 

Her dad began Lake Country Insurance in 1983 in his house. In 1988 Stave merged his agency with Jim Nielsen’s New York Mills-based insurance agency. In 1995 Nielsen retired and Stave became 100 percent owner. Still located in the same location in the Mills Business Center, one notable change the company made was when they ventured out of the health insurance business. Other than that, it really is business as usual.

The business grew to three offices in NY Mills, Motley and Verndale. Today, the Motley office is being run independently of the Verndale and NY Mills offices. Stave’s daughter Barthel purchased the Verndale and NY Mills branches from her dad on Feb. 1, 2023 and continues to strive to provide quality coverage for people of all ages and needs. 

Focusing on everything from home, business, auto, farm and recreational insurance, Lake Country Insurance has transformed the company into a one-stop shop for insurance throughout the region. 

Barthel said she enjoys the ability to get to visit with people, both new and existing customers, and find a way to help them through all of the changes in their life.

“We try to go over and above what other people do, even if it’s not necessarily part of our job duty,” said Barthel. 

While some people may assume they can simply get a better deal by shopping for insurance on their own online, Barthel said some people may not get the correct insurance to fit their needs. When the time comes to make a claim for a fire or accident, they could receive the sad news that their online insurance may not cover a claim. 

While it’s important to be properly covered, Barthel said it is just as important to find a plan to work within an individual’s budget. As an independent insurance agent, the staff at Lake Country Insurance can work with a number of insurance agencies to find a plan that will work the best for each person. Not only that, but having an independent insurance agent comes at absolutely no cost. 

“We can kind of do the comparison shopping right here,” she said.

Today, the company insures everything from antique shops to liquor stores, cafes to farms, boats and motorcycles to vehicles. The goal, of course, is to provide personalized service to people throughout the region. As an independent insurance company, Lake Country Insurance can get quotes from a number of companies who all have unique options to fit the needs of just about anyone in the region.

In addition to the NY Mills office, Lake Country Insurance has an office in Verndale. 

For more information about Lake Country Insurance, contact the NY Mills office at (218) 385-3989 and  Verndale at (218) 445-5153.