We have been in business in Ann Arbor since 1931. Founder Earle C. Fingerle (current owners John, Larry, and Mark Fingerle’s grandfather) began the business in a small, modest office which was located at 715 S. Fifth Ave. This office and the original shed were razed in 1966 to make way for new construction. As a full-service retail operation, the business grew steadily through the depression years of the thirties. In 1936, a modern new office and showroom were erected at 617 S. Fifth Ave. Shortly after, Earle’s brother-in-law Dick Hollister joined the company.
As the business continued to grow through the war years of the forties, many new storage buildings were constructed. During the early 1950’s, the company acquired several parcels of adjacent property which allowed for additional expansion. The Wholesale Division and Cash-Way Division were created during this era. Earle’s sons Brian and Colin, who had worked at the company in various capacities since childhood, began working full time following their service in the U.S. Army. Almost immediately after his stint in the army, Brian ran Arbor City Lumber Co. on Ashley St. as both a competitor and wholly owned subsidiary of FLC (Arbor City was formerly Gill Lumber Co.).
In the fall of 1966, the company embarked on a yearlong building program which replaced many antiquated sheds with new, more efficient storage buildings. The Full Service Division showroom, which had been in use for thirty years, was converted into additional office space and replaced by an up-to-date new showroom of three times the old square footage. In the same year, Earle Fingerle retired and Dick Hollister became president. Also in 1966, Arbor City Lumber Co. was closed and its operations and employees were merged into Fingerle Lumber Co.
Dick Hollister retired and Colin Fingerle became president in 1972. Five years later, sheds 31 and 32 (currently known as 3 and 4) were rebuilt after being destroyed in a fire on June 20th. The new, more efficient shed complex was fully stocked and operational before year’s end. Colin Fingerle retired three years later in 1980 and Brian Fingerle became president. In 1986, we acquired the real estate formerly occupied by Rohde Brick and Supply, located at 202 E. Madison St. Following some modifications, the office, warehouse, and outdoor storage space were put into use that year.
John, Larry, and Mark purchased the business and John Fingerle became president in 1991. In 1995, the Cash-Way and Full Service sales staffs were combined in the Full Service building on Fifth Ave., now known as the Sales Center. This facility became our only “store.” The Sales Center was modified to handle a larger sales force, and continues to offer the same variety of sales-types as was previously the case. The kitchen department remained in the former Cash-Way building, which was transformed into a millwork, hardware, and kitchen showroom. This showroom, the Fingerle Product Showcase, provides the space to display more of the newest and most exciting products the industry has to offer in a quiet, comfortable environment.
We have grown over the years for many definite reasons. The basic concepts that nourished the company in its early years are just as valid today as they were then. We are aggressive for new business as well as maintaining and expanding that which we already have. We realize that nobody has to buy from us, and many good prospects won’t unless we actively solicit their business and treat them fairly and in the same manner in which we would wish to be treated.
We Support Our Community
Organizations to whom we have supplied support include:
- 826 Michigan's Mittenfest
- Ann Arbor Community Center
- Ann Arbor Community High School Communicator
- Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts
- Burns Park Elementary School
- Dawn Farms
- Dicken Elementary School
- Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley
- Lawton Elementary School
- Michigan Ability Partners
- The Neutral Zone
- Pioneer Band Association
- Salvation Army Staples Family Center
- Shelter Association of Washtenaw County
- SOS Community Services
- Washtenaw Community College Foundation