The Formica Shop: A Family History
Are you familiar with the Good Housekeeping Seal? Well, back in the day, the Good Housekeeping Seal people use to lend their name to a chain of home improvement companies that sold Apex washers, Easy and Ironrite ironers, Apex and Kirby sweepers, Philco, Zenith, Stromberg Carlson radios, and Kelvinator refrigerators, among other appliances.
The Formica Shop, Spielmakers 3rd Generation, Inc., actually began as the Flint Goodhousekeeping Shop and my grandfather, Joe Spielmaker, was the manager of the store in 1937. He eventually took over ownership and added some home improvement items that complemented the lineup of appliances, like linoleum countertops and floor coverings, carpeting, and plumbing products such as sinks and faucets. Grandpa Joe died prematurely at the age of 58, so the running of the business was passed to his two sons, Joseph, Jr. and Jim. Cancer took Uncle Joe in his prime at only 38 years of age, so the youngest and only remaining son, Jim, was left to keep things afloat.
Even though the first plastic laminates from Formica started coming out in the late 1920s and early 1930s, it wasn't until after the war when the housing boom began that Formica started to become the household name that it is today. In fact, it became so popular and in demand around this area that Jim dropped all the appliances, floorcoverings - and everything else, for that matter - and focused mainly on fabrication and installation of countertops to meet the wildfire growth of the suburbs in the Flint area.
In 1968 Jim changed locations and changed the company name to The Formica Shop. Needless to say, business was good: I would even go so far as to say that if you live in one of the Flint suburbs that was building up at this time, you probably have or did have a Formica Shop countertop in your home.
In the late 1970s my dad thought it would be a good idea to add the family name to the company name, since we had grown up and done business in the Genesee County area for three generations. So the name was changed to The Formica Shop Spielmakers 3rd Generation, Inc., which was incorporated in the late 1980s.
I hired on in 1978 and have been involved in just about every aspect of our business since that time. My dad retired in early '80s and the business passed down through a succession of sons until I took the reins in 1988. My dad passed in 1989, and here we are today some 80 years later. My brother Joe is in charge of all fabrication and installation.
I'm the youngest of seven brothers and sisters, and I am very proud to carry on in my father's and grandfather's footsteps. My name is Tom Spielmaker, and it's my promise to you that if we are fortunate enough to earn your patronage, we will strive to make sure you feel that you got your money's worth here at The Formica Shop Spielmakers 3rd Generation. By the way - I have a son (the 4th generation) and he already knows how to run a Formica trimmer! :)
-- Tom Spielmaker
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