loading background

Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

FMA Will Do Own Car Loading

The Grand Rapids Furniture Manufacturers have an advantage this season that they have never enjoyed before—excellent shipping accommodations. Heretofore buyers placing less than carload orders with Grand Rapids factories have been obliged to pay $15 to $25 a car to have the goods assembled and loaded to give them the carload freight rate.


After a series of meetings by its special committee, the Grand Rapids Furniture Manufacturers’ Association completed its plans for doing its own car loading in the future. There has been a movement in the association looking to such an end for a number of months, but owing to the many details to be considered, the existence of a private enterprise in the city that had given the members of the association service in the past, and certain other factors, the proposition was placed in the hands of a committee chaired by David H. Brown.

The Grand Rapids Car Loading Company, of which J. Harry Shoneberger has been the active force since its organization, now becomes part of the Grand Rapids Furniture Manufacturers’ Association. Mr. Shoneberger established the Grand Rapids Car Loading Company about two and a half years ago. It concerned itself largely with the handling of machinery and furniture in car-lot shipments with furniture the big element in its business. The warehouse and other property interests of the car loading company are taken over by the association under the terms of the purchase.


Now the freight and car-loading department of the Grand Rapids Furniture Association will be able to give the customers of its members this important service without charge. This department of the association has 27 members, and goods purchased from any of them will be drayed, assembled, and loaded, and the entire expense incident thereto is divided pro rata among the members instead of being shifted to the customer.

The department is so broad gauge in its methods that the customers of non-member manufacturers can receive the service at a cost less than was formerly charged when the car loading was done by individuals. The charges are 10 cents per hundred pounds for drayage, when any is to be done, and an additional 10 cents for assembling and loading.

Outside manufacturers often make use of this service in shipping to western and coast points. It is not unusual, for instance, for the Jamestown or the Rochester, and manufacturers at other points, to ship less than carload orders to this city to be put into the through cars with Grand Rapids goods for the coast.

The old car-loading service under private management used to be almost exclusively for the coast, but under the auspices of the Furniture Association the services are east, south, southwest and west alike—in fact, to any point that buys Grand Rapids furniture.


The association has a large central freight warehouse where the shipments are assembled, also smaller warehouses conveniently located in different parts of the city, and the shipping warehouse of one of the members may be made an assembling station. Experts handle the loading, and when goods delivered for shipment are improperly crated or packed the experts see to it that the trouble is remedied before the goods are put in the cars. This greatly reduces the hazard of breakage and damage.

The association does not let its responsibility end with the loading of the cars. If this city’s customers are over charged, or if cars are delayed in transit, or if there are claims for damages to collect the freight department will attend to it without charge to the customers. This service given by the department means the saving of thousands of dollars annually to those who buy furniture here.

The members of the freight department and whose customers receive this free service are:

Berkey & Gay Furniture Co.

William A. Berkey Furniture Co.


Nelson-Matter Furniture Co.

Grand Rapids Fancy Furniture Co.


Grand Rapids Chair Co.


Stow & Davis Furniture Co.


Imperial Furniture Co.


C.S. Paine Co

Oriel Cabinet Co.


Wilmarth Show Case Co.


Luce Furniture Co.


Century Furniture Co.


The Macey Co.


Grand Rapids Wood Carving Co.


Stickley Bros. Co.


John D. Raab Chair Co.


Michigan Chair Co.


Royal Furniture Co.


Grand Rapids Furniture Co.


Mueller & Slack Co.


Grand Rapids Upholstery Co.


Phoenix Furniture Co.


Johnson Furniture Co.


John Widdicomb Co.


Sterling Desk Co.


Retting Furniture Co.

Gunn Furniture Co.



Excerpted from, Evening Press, March 2, 1910, page 12

Weekly Artisan, July 16, 1910, page 1

Like Us on Facebook
site by GRCMC