Having driven down Main Street in Zeeland before, I never paid much attention to some of the businesses located on the east stretch of the road by Chicago Drive. Then one day, while driving down Main Street, it hit me- Herman & Howard Miller! These two similarly named businesses are located right across the street from one another. I thought it was quite peculiar that the Herman Miller facility is located on the north side of Main Street at address number 855, and Howard Miller is located directly across from Herman Miller on the south side of Main Street at address number 860. I even took a photo (amazing right).
Obviously, I had to research this connection and come up with some wild theories on how this curious arrangement came to be. I even had the “Brothers from Other Mothers” blog title developed (I guess the Miller’s will do). But this all came crashing down, as soon as I read the following line from Wikipedia- “Howard Miller Clock Company was founded in 1926 as the Herman Miller Clock Company division of office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller. It was spun off in 1937 and re-named, under the leadership of Herman Miller’s son Howard C. Miller.” Digging into Herman Miller’s company history page they had a slightly different version of events, namely D.J. Dupree, the president of Herman Miller and son-in-law to Herman Miller, and brother-in-law to Howard Miller, spun off the company to Howard. I should also mention that the companies are no longer affiliated with each other.
Sad to say but I am mildly disappointed, I was hoping for some more drama. My great title, and all my wild theories went out the door, like pure coincidence, dueling brothers, extreme Herman Miller fanboy, or overly aggressive salesman trying to right the coattails of the Miller name and all along it was just pure nepotism (or was it), though maybe there was some dueling brothers-in-law back story.
But at least it makes sense. Naturally having a company division spun off and close in proximity to the headquarters was beneficial back in the 1920s and 30s. It would be interesting to learn more on why the Howard Miller was spun off.
Besides the same last names and H first names, and locations, there are some other similarities between the companies with their logos. The rounded valley in the Herman Miller logo, and the rounded parts of the bottom and top of the U shaped parts that for the H in the Howard Miller logo.
Likewise, I also see a lot more similarities between Herman Miller logo with Motorola’s. When I was new to the area I was always curious on why Motorola had such a huge presence in West Michigan (stupid, stupid, stupid).
I wonder if they each have their own softball teams with the Zeeland Rec league, maybe that’s where the (most likely imagined) bad blood is.