It was 1946, a time when music programs were booming in schools all across America. A time when a good parade tune was hummed for days. Regional organizations and music associations were forming everywhere. In Owatonna Minnesota, Harry was the local high school band director and known around town as the "Music Man."
His passion was music education and he built the local programs into national award winners. The one thing that troubled him was the lack of good equipment -- so when he needed something, he invented and built it himself.
He started tinkering in his basement, as a side venture, Harry started putting his unique equipment designs in the hands of his fellow music educators.
He and his wife Ruth would travel to state music conventions and take orders for products like the Sousaphone Chair that helped students support the bulky instrument. He perfected a Choral Riser and Staging Systems.
Wenger Corporation struggled through the early years and rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1954. The company had moved from Harry's basement, to an old horse barn, to the local fair grounds and finally built a full-scale manufacturing facility on the current location.
Wenger expanded the marketing of the products with catalogs and direct mail. By 1964 there were over 40 products in the Wenger catalog and the company celebrated its first million-dollar year.
Through the company's early development, Harry's son Jerry, grew up helping out wherever he was needed. Jerry inherited his father's imagination for product innovations and when he took over as president in 1970, he brought something else to Wenger -- a keen ability for solid, strategic corporate growth. By the company's 40th anniversary, Jerry had led the growth from $3 million to $21 million with the introductions of popular new product lines. Products that have set the standards over the years. Products like Sound Module Practice Rooms, Tourmaster portable choral risers, Music Posture Chairs, Music Stands and the Showmobile mobile performance center.
When Jerry turned over the presidency in 1992 the company had celebrated $32 million in sales and the Wenger line was over 100 products strong. In the 1990s Wenger Corporation took off again with a record-breaking pace of solid growth. Keeping true to Wenger's history, new product innovations continued to define Wenger as a one-of-a-kind company. Products like V-Room virtual acoustic environments, the Classic 50 music stand, Signature Choral Risers, Diva Full Stage Acoustic Shells, a line of elementary products, new stage designs and more.
Today we employ over 500 manufacturing, marketing and sales professionals. We offer nearly 600 products and sell all over the world. We are recognized as the leader in our industry and our reputation and products have taken us into a wide variety of markets such as performing arts, rental and production and broadcast and entertainment.
Wenger is a classic American success story. For over 70 years this has been a place where good people have put hard work behind good ideas. A place where quality counts and products are built to last. And most importantly, a place that helps bring music to the lives of people everywhere.