I’ve been spending too much time with my father in the hospital. Not that the time we have spent has been too much, but him being in the hospital has been. This time spent has had me reflecting on what a great guy my father is.
His beginnings were humble enough. His father left when he was 6 years old and his mother raised he and his younger sister while working full time at GM. While that’s a pretty common story in today’s world, it was a little different in the 1940’s when he was growing up.
He always had an eye for design. That skill landed him a job at the old Hudson’s downtown decorating windows during the holiday season. I’m too young to really recall, but my elders tell me Hudson’s was magical at Christmas time. I like to think my father had a little something to do with that. Maybe Santa agrees, maybe he doesn’t.
He left Hudson’s to work at Silvers. Which in the 1960’s and 1970’s was the office store. I remember spending many a Saturday morning in their store at Telegraph and 12 Mile as a kid. Poor people used to come in on Monday to find their bottle collection missing cuz some rummy little kid “cashed” em in while they were gone. I bet I owe a few of his co-workers like $1.80. With 30 years of interest, it’s probably quite a bit now.
In the late 70’s Silvers and my father hired a brilliant young design talent named Chris Sowers. Shortly thereafter the Silver’s brothers had a “falling out”. When those two split, my father and Chris joined one of them to start a new company called Office Resource. I managed to collect a lot of bottles there too.
Time went on and my father and Chris left the Silver’s brother and started their own thing. By the late 80’s they had become a Herman Miller powerhouse. They went through a few name revisions and were merged with another dealer or two over time.
By the early 90’s they had settled on the name Facility Matrix Group and found their home on 555 Friendly St. Although my father retired in 2000, the business still continues to grow year over year.
FMG is now the largest Herman Miller office furniture dealer in Michigan. Based on the good work by Chris, David Daugherty, Nigel Addison and the rest of their team they win amazing office furniture and interior design projects like the work they did at Rock Financial
And the now world famous Madison Building.
This past week I was given the opportunity to work with FMG and help them with digital marketing. I’m excited to report I’ve come a long way since collecting bottles. I think my dad will be proud.