Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd. turns 45-years-old today.
The company was founded on January 13, 1967 by my parents Ann and Johan Wiggers. Just like today that day also happened to be a Friday the 13th.
Although some consider Friday the 13th to be unlucky, I guess it doesn't work that way for everyone.
When I was very small I spent a great deal of time playing on my father's workbench, while he was still working out of the basement of his home.
The first actual workshop wasn't built until 1968. (Notice the Ford Econoline van parked on the side. Years later that was the first vehicle I learned to drive, complete with standard transmission and three-on-the-tree.)
This is the shop today. It is now approx. 12,000 sq. ft. in size, but still has a number of original tools and machines still being used each day.
Although he's now retired my father keeps himself active which, in turn, keeps him young.
This coming year will also mark my 31st year as a full time furniture maker, and I am amazed how quickly the time has flown. (Such a cliche to say too, I know).
My son Kevin is now working with me as well.
Although he's only 21-years-old he's already far more skilled and experienced than I was at the same age. What parent wouldn't be happy to admit that?
It's great having my father around to teach Kevin things like wood turning and marquetry. Kevin is patient and shows great respect listening to his grandfather.
As an interesting historical footnote it was also 45 years ago today that Time Magazine published the following cover:
Times have certainly changed, because in recent years China has transitioned away from being an agrarian Communist society to become what is now a manufacturing juggernaut - becoming so wealthy in the process that it is now the holder of millions of jobs and trillions of dollars formerly held in the West.
This certainly wasn't the playing field that confronted my father and grandfather during their respective eras. Then again, they had Great Depressions and World Wars to deal with. Regardless, I remain hopeful that we as a small business can continue to find ways to navigate forward during these uncertain times.
In the meantime Happy Birthday, Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd. !