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.