French Gerleman Family Business Award Recap and Thank You

French Gerleman Family Business Award Recap and Thank You


This past month, we had the honor of attending the St. Louis Business Journal’s Award Dinner for the Family Business Award. This was a wonderful event honoring a few select family owned businesses. Bill French, French Gerleman CEO, accepted the award on behalf of the entire French family.


Here are a few highlights from Bill’s acceptance speech for our Family Business Award:

“The company was started in the 1920s when my Grandfather returned from serving in France during WWI as an artillery captain in the same outfit as Harry Truman.  He came back and, along with his father and brother, incorporated French Gerleman in 1923. My grandfather would tell me stories of getting on a horse-drawn trolley car on south 10th street near where Busch Stadium is today and going down to Anheuser-Busch to pick up a 100 pound, 5 HP motor and bringing it back to the office for repair.”

Today, if we saw a horse drawn trolley hauling a 100 pound motor, we would all be taking pictures and posting them on social media. It’s a very different world, right? French Gerleman has grown from a small motor repair shop to a company which employs more than 250, including six family members, and has a 174,000 square foot corporate headquarters and retail distribution center in St. Louis.

Bill thanked the French and Wagner families for their continued hard work and support in running a family business. He also thanked the 250+ people who help to run French Gerleman on a daily basis and do a great job servicing our customers, all of whom share this award.

Bill is often asked about his values, what makes French Gerleman successful and how he generates enthusiasm, comradery and family spirit?

“I give credit to my faith in God and all I have learned through my study of the Holy scripture,” said Bill French.

Thank you to St. Louis Business Journal for this award and especially to our customers who have supported us over the years and helped us to grow.

French Gerleman Named a St. Louis Business Journal Family Business Award Winner

family-business-awaeThe St. Louis Business Journal just released their list of Family Business Award winners, and we are excited to announce that French Gerleman has made the list. This is the first year for the award, and we are thrilled to be honored alongside six other local, family owned companies.

For nearly 100 years, we have kept the company in the French family and maintained our strong mission statement. We have six family members currently involved with the business. It’s important to us, as a company, to not only grow as a whole, but for individuals within the company to grow and be successful. We are particularly proud of our many long term employees – we have many 20+ year employees among our ranks! Our employees become like family and we are fortunate to have them on our team.

Founded in 1923, French Gerleman was built on a strong foundation of guiding principles. Among those is a continued emphasis on forging enduring relationships with those who have had an interest in our success.

We are grounded in the past and poised for the future. Our success is dependent on all us working together to stay strong and to continue to grow as a company. We are proud of our history and that strong background helps us work towards the future.

Stories for each of the companies honored by the St. Louis Business Journal appeared in the October 21 issue, which can be found HERE.

Thank you to the St. Louis Business Journal for this honor.  It means a lot to us to be recognized for our family heritage and history, it is what makes French Gerleman what it is today.