Louis Hornick II
Louis Hornick III
My grandfather was entrepreneurial. In 1918, at age 22, he left his position selling passementerie (trimmings) for the August Small Company. He crossed out the name August Small on the swatch cards he carried, wrote in the name Hornick, and booked orders that day. With a $500 guarantee provided by a friend, he was able to rent a small loft on Worth Street, here in New York City. The Louis Hornick Company was born.
In the 1920′s, my grandfather brought over knitting machines from Europe and started manufacturing “Net Curtains” which he sold to jobbers. In the 1930’s, the company sold its curtains to the big 5&10 chain, Kresge, where the business required him to occasionally take the overnight train to Detroit (Kresge later became Kmart).. How honored he was that the buyer would always send a car to pick him up at the station…indeed, times have changed! It was also at this time that the firm began selling JCPenney, Sears and WT Grant.
In 1943 my grandfather suffered a debilitating stroke. During wartime, we were manufacturing camouflage netting for the military, and my father, M.J. Hornick, was called upon to come out of the Army for a year to run the business. Once Dad steadied the company, he went back into the Service, leaving my grandmother, Anna, to run the business. People have forgotten the important roles in industry that many women played during World War II, when they were forced to take the reins of business, allowing their husbands and sons to fight for their country.
My grandfather died in 1946, not quite 50 years old. My father, M.J. Hornick, had just come out of the Army and decided to immediately implement his Wharton Business School thesis, “The Inefficiencies of Manufacturing in New York City in a Multi-Storied Building”, and relocate within 50 miles of New York City.
My father built many fine and outstanding relationships with the leaders of the American Retail Industry. To the point when, in 1963, we were looking at boarding schools, Dad persuaded Mr. J. C. Penney to give me an interview. Mr. Penney was on the board of the Hill School. I was, of course, in awe during the interview. He was a kind and warm gentleman. Needless to say, it was a positive recommendation, and the school welcomed me. Nevertheless, I went to Suffield Academy where I had the privilege to serve as a Trustee for 9 years.
Under my father’s focused leadership, the business grew rapidly from 1950-1980. Many of our curtains were seen on prominent TV shows and in movies. On the day I turned 16, I started working on the factory floor. My summers and holidays were spent in our manufacturing operations where I trained and performed every craft. I also travelled overseas visiting our equipment manufacturers in Germany. During these 6 years, I also met many of the buyers and merchandise managers in the industry when they visited our facilities.
In 1972, I graduated Wharton and came into the business full time. I became President in 1982.
Dad died June 1, 1988. From 1988-2000, our business focused on and invested in Associate Education & Training, deploying Six Sigma Problem-Solving Techniques, developing High Powered Teams, Capital Investment, and Information Systems.
We now compete in a hyper-competitive, global marketplace. Therefore, in 2000, our business went global.
However, during this period, our hearts, technical expertise and skill sets remained in the USA.
Today, we are committed to expanding the manufacturing of our innovative new products in the USA.
My son, Louis Hornick III, commonly called Tripp, is the fourth generation. With Tripp’s graduation from University of Pennsylvania, our family completed a “hat trick”:
Dad graduated in 1942
I graduated in 1972
Tripp graduated in 2002
In 2010, Tripp was named Chief Operating Officer.
As we celebrate our ninety-fifth anniversary, the third and fourth generations of Hornick are creating new and exciting products that are exemplified by our revolutionary collection: firefend™ and remain committed to Manufacturing in the USA.
Please visit the firefend™ web site at www.firefendcurtains.com.
We proudly look forward to our centennial.
LOUIS HORNICK II