Albert H. Simpson

Page 317-318 - Albert H. Simpson is another of the native sons of Michigan who have made records of successful achievement in connection with important industrial enterprise in the city of Grand Rapids, where he is now president and treasurer of the Grand Rapids Wood Finishing Company. Of the genesis and development of this well ordered concern, which has been greatly expanded in the scope and importance of its business under the progressive executive policies of Mr. Simpson, a brief outline may consistently be given. In 1892 John G. Carroll initiated on a small scale, the manufacturing of paints with headquarters in a building at 52 Waterloo street, Grand Rapids, and he adopted the title of Grand Rapids Paint & Color Company, under which the business was later incorporated, before the close of that year. At this juncture G. L. Stresenreuter became an interested principal in the business, and it is pleasing to record that S. M. VanNamee, the first superintendent and technical expert of the factory, is still connected with the company, he having done much to advance the upbuilding of the now large and prosperous business. In 1893 Mr. Stresenreuter sold his interest and D. C. Scribner became associated with the business, his financial holdings in the connection having been notably increased in the following year. The company then began to give its attention primarily to the manufacturing of high grade wood stains and fillers, and in 1904 the title of the corporation was changed to Grand Rapids Wood Finishing Company, the word paint having been dropped in 1894 and the present title having been adopted. The enterprise was initiated with a corps of only three employees, but excellence of products and efficiency of service caused the business to advance rapidly, with the result that eventually it became necessary to provide larger headquarters and more extensive facilities. In 1904 the company purchased the property at 61-71 Ellsworth avenue and there erected the present commodious, substantial and modern manufacturing plant, the equipment of which is of the best standard known to this line of industrial enterprise. Here is now retained an average force of thirty employees, and the trade extends throughout the United States and Canada due principally to the progressive policies of Mr. Simpson, the president of the company. There is nothing static but much of the dynamic in the personality of Mr. Simpson and in business he is never satisfied unless things are moving forward with celerity and efficiency. He thus engaged additional salesmen to represent the company in all of this territory and the business of the company is being substantially promoted. Mr. Simpson came with the company in April, 1905, in the capacity of bookkeeper. Within a few months he was made secretary of the company, and in 1922 he acquired the interest of Mr. Scribner and became president and treasurer of the company, of which June E. Cowlishaw is the secretary, and of which the original, able and valued incumbent, Sidney VanNamee, continues as advisor. Otto Walker is now superintendent. He was without any doubt the most successful stain and filler salesman in the United States and with his sales knowledge he is properly fitted for the manufacturing end of the business knowing well the requirements of the trade. Mr. Walker came with the firm in 1911 as a salesman and in 1919 was promoted to superintendent. Mr. Simpson was born and reared in Jackson county, Michigan, where his father settled upon coming from the state of New York.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 12 March 2003