Lewis C. Harris

Page 191-192 - Lewis C. Harris is president and manager of the Harris Sample Furniture Company, which, through his resourceful management and somewhat original and unique policies, has developed in the city of Grand Rapids a large and important business in the retail sale of sample stocks of furniture produced in the great factories of this leading center of the furniture industry. By years of study and intelligent merchandising this company has built an outlet for surplus samples, and they buy the manufacturer’s complete exhibit by which means they relieve him of any further expense or bother and earn for their concern a big discount from his regular prices. The large and attractive headquarters establishment of the Harris Sample Furniture Company is at 107-109-111-113 Division avenue, south. Lewis C. Harris was born in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, November 11, 1874, and he was a boy at the time of the family removal to Barry County, Michigan, where his father, the late Seymour Harris, engaged in the lumber business, he having previously represented Michigan as a gallant young soldier of the Union in the Civil war, in which he was a member of the Eleventh Michigan Cavalry. Seymour Harris was one of the venerable and honored citizens of Barry County at the time of his death, in 1906, and his wife, whose maiden name was Alice Peck, died in 1884. The youthful education of Lewis C. Harris was gained in the public schools of Barry county and in the valuable school of practical experience and service. He was a mere lad when he found employment in a furniture factory at Hastings, and at the age of twenty-three years he had won advancement to the office of superintendent of this factory, one of the oldest manufactories in Michigan. Mr. Harris has found his broad experience in the manufacturing field of great value to him in the directing of his present large and important business, he being thoroughly familiar with all phases of the furniture industry and business, with which he has been connected during his entire active career. In the entire United States it is doubtful if any other man is better known in the retail furniture trade, and in the Union there is no city of 100,000 population in which Mr. Harris has not sold furniture. From an article that appeared in the official publication of the National Exchange Club at the time when Mr. Harris was national president of that organization, in 1921-22, are taken the following extracts: "When one thinks of Grand Rapids, he thinks of furniture, when one thinks of furniture, he thinks of L. C. Harris. Since the time he was able to waddle from his mother’s knee, grasping a chair for assistance, ‘furniture’ has been the thought uppermost in his mind. In his youth a designer, Mr. Harris today can turn his hand to the mechanical side of the business, by creating new designs or duplicating any that come before him. * * * Now the head of one of the largest wholesale and retail sample furniture companies of Grand Rapids, which really means by comparison one of the largest in the entire country, Mr. Harris stands out a true type of America’s successful business men. He has climbed from the bottom of the ladder. One of the largest business organizations of the country is the National Retail Furniture Agency (organized for the promotion of better trade relations between the manufacturers and retailers), in which Mr. Harris holds a directorship. He is recognized as the ‘daddy’ of this organization, and furniture dealers and manufacturers all over the nation sit up and listen when ‘daddy’ has anything to say about the furniture business. Mr. Harris was the first man in Grand Rapids to take steps for the organization of the local Exchange Club, and was a representative of his club at all of the organization meetings when the national organization was formed. While a conservative by nature, his conservatism is well tempered by progressive thoughts of greater expansion and development, whether applied to his business or social relations." Mr. Harris is an active and influential member of the National Retail Furniture Dealers Association and the Grand Rapids Retail Furniture Dealers Association, besides which he is vice-president of the New Era Association, an insurance corporation operating in Michigan and other states. He was chosen to organize a Tri-State furniture dealers association, and incidental to this service was the establishing and development of the Retail Furniture Buyers’ Guide, a publication for the use of retail dealers throughout the country. He is affiliated with the Masonic Fraternity, and has served as an official of the Grand Rapids Masonic Temple Association, of the building committee of which he was a member at the time of the erection of the new Masonic Temple building. In 1894 Mr. Harris wedded Miss Emma Croswell, of Hastings, Barry County, she being a representative of one of the prominent pioneer families of that county. Mr. and Mrs. Harris have a family of ten children: George A., Alice, Allen, Lynn, Donald, Robert, Louise, Jack, Harriet and Lewis C., Jr. Alice, the oldest daughter, is well known for her exceptional talent as an artist, she having attended the Chicago Art Institute and, after winning a scholarship in Paris, having continued her studies in the French capital and other European cities. She is now the wife of Albert B. Hartz of Detroit.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 22 March 2003
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/white1924/personal/harrislc.html