The TOOL Haus name came into existence around 1981, but the roots go back much farther. My father, Lewis Strohkirch, started a business in 1941, Gladwin Farmers Supply, in a leased building on mainstreet in downtown Gladwin, Michigan. The business was shut down when my father entered the Army Air Force in the Summer of 1942. The building owner was going to hold it for my father until he got back from the war in a year. That didn't happen. Lewis was discharged in December of 1945, returned to Gladwin, re-opened the business in a new location and married my mother, Elsie Endert... all in the first month back.
The business grew, with several additions, during the general prosperity after WWII. Eventually, it evolved into Gladwin PRO Farmers Supply, a Hardware Store with farm supplies. I don't remember why, but I happened to take a Woodshop Class in High School on my way to Michigan Technological University, majoring in Electrical Engineering. I remember building a pair of University Sound 3-way bass reflex speakers, huge with 12" woofers, the summer after my Freshman year at Tech. They were a hit in Houghton during the late '60's. I went to work at Saginaw Steering Gear as an Industrial Engineer in June of 1970, after graduating with a B.S. in Business Administration. (EE was far too boring for me.) I left General Motors and came back to Gladwin in the Fall of 1972 to join my father and mother in the Hardware. Within a couple years, I added a few woodworking machines in one corner of the Hardware. Eventually, after much politicking, we became a Rockwell Industrial Distributor.
Then, with no warning, my father suddenly passed away in March of 1981. Interest rates were at 20%, lots of estate taxes to pay, and a high rate of inflation. It was a tough road but we made it. Around this same time, I partnered with Garrett Wade to sell the Inca Power Tool line. One new line led to another and, by the mid-1980's, we had many new lines to exibit with a booth at the winter "Woodworking Show" at Cobo Hall. We did this for several years. We were the first Dealer to sell the Lamello Plate Joining System in Michigan. Back then, very few people had ever heard of a "biscuit joiner". Those were exciting times and demonstrating a biscuit joiner always drew a crowd... well before the Internet and YouTube.
In 1985, four years after my father's passing, our PRO Hardware became an ACE Hardware. I spent more and more of my time focusing on growing the Hardware. We moved The TOOL Haus into a separate building, where it exists today. Over the ensuing years, I had several good people manage The TOOL Haus, but wasn't personally as connected to the woodworking business as I once was. Now, that has all changed. I sold the ACE Hardware effective October 1, 2015, and am now totally focused on growing The TOOL Haus.
Thank-you for being part of our HISTORY! (To be continued....)
The Tool Haus' goal is to be the destination of choice in northern Michigan for Woodworkers and Industrial Customers alike. We're constantly adding new product lines to better serve our Customers. We strive to be your resource for "all things woodworking". In addition, we can supply our Industrial and Metalworking customers with all the products available from the JET Metalworking Machines, Metal Forming & Industrial catalogs. If we don't have the item(s) you desire in-stock, we'll have them drop-shipped to you direct from the manufacturer.
Unlike the "Big Box" stores where you might spend hours searching the aisles, we'll help you target your needs in a fast, friendly, efficient and professional manner. And, we're going to be able to supply those hard-to-find items the "Boxes" never thought of carrying. If we don't have it in stock, we will get it to you. Our staff is knowledgeable in the products we sell. If, for whatever reason, we can't supply the product or solution you're looking for, we'll be the first to admit it and help you find the assistance you need and deserve.
Currently, we're creating a Woodworking Classroom above The TOOL Haus sales floor. We know there are a lot of individuals that would like to get into woodworking but have no experience operating the basic machines. They're a little nervous about ripping or jointing a board... and rightly so. The table saw, miter saw, jointer, planer, band saw, scroll saw and router can be very intimidating to the beginner. We want to teach the safe, hands-on operation of these machines so the student is no longer fearful. We will help each student gain confidence in their new-found abilities, while reminding them to maintain a healthy respect for these machines and power tools.
In addition, we are Authorized Factory Service for JET, Powermatic, Delta, and many other brands of machines and portable power tools. Hopefully, you'll never need us. But, if you do, we'll be there for you if something goes wrong with a product we sell. We have even helped customers with machines or power tools that we didn't sell. "Service after the Sale" sets us apart from the competition.
Change is a given as we continue to add new products and services. As I write these lines in January of 2017, we're in the process of adding eCommerce to this website. Soon, you'll be able to order product from us online. We'll continually expand the brands and items that we offer online, but, sadly, will probably never match the full array of our in-store offerings. If in the area, please stop by and say, "Hello". Be sure to LIKE us on Facebook to keep up with Sales, Promotions, and Events. The times may be a changin' but, the one thing that will never change, "We're committed to your satisfaction and success in using the products we sell. We know we have to earn every dollar you spend with us. We take no sale, no matter how small, for granted."
Thank-you for your continued support.
Richard Strohkirch, Owner
The TOOL Haus
Gladwin, Michigan 48624