Edward J. Johns

Page 239 - Edward J. Johns is the progressive, efficient and popular manager of the Grand Rapids branch of the music house of Grinnell Brothers, an incorporated concern that has unequivocal leadership in the extensive sale of musical instruments and musical merchandise in the state of Michigan, the headquarters of the company being in the city of Detroit and branches being maintained in many other cities, as well as in prominent villages, of the state. The genesis of this extensive and well-ordered business is of interesting order. In 1880 Ira L. Grinnell, who had just completed his course of study in the public schools of Detroit, turned his attention to the handling of sewing machines, as an itinerant salesman in territory tributary to the Michigan metropolis. He was successful in this enterprise and his experience not only quickened his ambition but also fortified him for the independent enterprise in which he later engaged, when he became associated with his brothers, Clayton A. and Herbert in the organizing of a co-partnership for the handling of high-grade musical instruments. The business at the start was confined largely to Detroit and was a modest enterprise. The Grinnell Brothers had no predilection for remaining in status quo after their enterprise had become established on a solid foundation. They devised new methods and policies for the extending of the business, and progress and expansion have been the watchwords of this splendid concern during the long intervening years that have brought to it a standing as the largest and most important Michigan representative of this line of enterprise, the company having been incorporated in 1919, and being now recognized as one of the foremost in the music trade of the United States. The Grinnell Brothers, in their relation with their employees, have manifested the loyalty that ever begets loyalty, and have built up an organization distinctly based on loyalty and co-ordination of interests. The concern has gained and retained able and valued assistants, and attributes much of its success to the effective service and co-operation of the managers of the various branch establishments, not only through Michigan but also in a number of neighboring states. The company showed its discernment and good judgment when it selected Edward L. Johns as manager of the important Grand Rapids branch, and in this executive position he has made a splendid record in advancing the business throughout his assigned territorial jurisdiction. The Grand Rapids branch house occupies seven floors of the building at 26-28 Division street, south, and it can thus be realized how large and comprehensive is the stock of musical instruments and merchandise here displayed, the corps of employees in the establishment now numbering more than fifty persons and all departments being under the direct supervision of the efficient manager, Mr. Johns. Mr. Johns was born in the city of London, Ontario, Canada on September 15, 1860 and he is a son of Thomas R. and Margaret (Rosser) Johns. In the public schools of his native city Mr. Johns acquired his early education, and in 1875 he was graduated in the high school at Sarnia, Ontario. His initial experience in merchandising was acquired in a large dry goods establishment at Sarnia, and this early discipline fortified him excellently for the greater responsibilities which he was later to assume. He connection with the business of Grinnell Brothers had its inception in 1904, when he was made office manager in the branch maintained at Port Huron, Michigan. Within a few years he was assigned to the management of the Petoskey branch and later took charge of the branch in the city of Saginaw, where he remained-ten years. After the company, in 1919, purchased the business of Smith & Hurst, an established musical instrument business in Grand Rapids, and incorporated the same in the important Grinnell branch in this city, Mr. Johnsí ability and effective service gained high recognition when he was selected as the manager of this branch, which has become second in importance to only the headquarters establishment in Detroit, with a trade territory that comprises most of western Michigan-as far north as Reed City and Ludington, south to the city of Holland, and east to Muir, In Ionia county. The Grinnell company handles many of the finest makes of pianos, including the celebrated Steinway, Weber and Sohmer instruments, as well as the excellent pianos manufactured by the company itself in the modern factory at Holly, Oakland county. Mr. Johns manifests his progressive spirit not only as a resourceful business man but also as a loyal appreciative citizen of Michiganís vital "Valley City." He is a Mason, a Knight Templar and member of the Kiwanis Club, and both he and his wife are members of Westminster Presbyterian church. He was married in 1883 to Miss Helen Shilinglaw, of Sarnia, Ontario, who died in 1893 leaving three children. Elsie, wife of Guy L. Sintz of Detroit; Edward E., who is engaged in the building and contracting business at Detroit, and Nellie, wife of Glen Beardsley, of Detroit. In 1903 Mr. Johns married Jennie L. Simpson of Sarnia, Ontario.

Transcriber:  Pat Frey
Created: 27 February 2003
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/white1924/personal/johnsej.html