Luce Furniture Shops

 Page 625-626 - The Luce Furniture Shops of Grand Rapids. One of the largest and most significant industrial transactions in the history of Grand Rapids was consummated November 9, 1925, when the large factories of the Luce Furniture Company and the Furniture Shops of Grand Rapids were consolidated under the name of the Luce Furniture Shops of Grand Rapids, bringing these two important institutions under one management with a total authorized capitalization of approximately $6,000,000. Officers of the new corporation are: Martin J. Dregge, president; William A. Bowen, vice-president; and J. Hampton Hoult, secretary and treasurer. These men have spent their entire business careers in the furniture industry and will continue in the active management of the business. The Luce Furniture Company began its business career under the name of the McCord & Bradford Furniture Company, in the year 1878. The corporation was organized by the late Fred R. Luce, Ransom C. Luce, Thomas McCord, John Bradfield and George Kendall. Its first factory operations were in the old factory building of the Grand Rapids Cabinet Company on Ottawa avenue. The business of the company at the beginning was confined to the manufacture of folding tables, after a patent obtained by John Bradfield. Shortly after the manufacture of bedsteads, in ash and maple, was added and the plant of the company enlarged. This was continued for a year or more, when the company entered largely into the manufacture of medium priced furniture for the bedroom. Later the immense and modern plant on Godfrey avenue was erected and the name was changed to the Luce Furniture Company. The factory since has been increased by approximately one-third its original floor space and the company has been generally known as one of the largest manufacturers of exclusive bedroom and dining room furniture in the world. In 1903 the management of the Luce Furniture Company passed to the late John Hoult, who was considered one of the ablest and most practical wood-workers in this country, and under his guidance Martin J. Dregge and J. Hampton Hoult were brought up and to them has been largely responsible the success of the company during the past twenty years. The Furniture Shops of Grand Rapids was founded in 1905 as the John D. Raab Chair Company, originally manufacturing high-grade chairs under the management of John D. Raab, one of the most prominent designers of chairs in the furniture industry. The company made only the highest grade of chairs. The present plant of the company was erected in 1913. It covers a full block and all conveniences for the economical and practical construction of furniture were embodied in the plant. In 1920 the company incorporated a complete line of living-room, library and hall furniture under the name of The Furniture Shops of Grand Rapids and is rated as among the foremost in this line of woodworking factories. William A. Bowen has been general manager of the Furniture Shops and the success of the company is largely credited to him and his associates. Mr. Bowen for more than a quarter of a century was associated with the Phoenix Furniture Company before taking the management of the Furniture Shops. Both of the companies enjoy an enviable reputation as manufacturers of medium-priced furniture and the consolidation is looked upon with favor by the customers, who include the largest department stores and the strongest exclusive house furnishing stores in America. The products also are distributed to Mexico, Cuba, Honolulu, Canada and South America. The factory buildings have an aggregate floor space of more than eleven acres and the company’s lumber yards have a capacity in excess of 7,000,000 board feet. Its dry kilns and dry storage have an inside storage capacity of 8,000,000 board feet of lumber. From one thousand to twelve hundred workmen are employed and more than a score of traveling salesmen. The policy of the companies always has been one of leadership in the industry, as is evidenced by the steady growth of the business and their status has long been one of prominence in connection with the representative industrial activities of the country.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 30 December 2002