A. G. Brewer
Brewer was started in 1914 in Kansas City, Missouri, by A. G. Brewer, great grandfather of the current Brewer president Jerry Smith. Mr. Brewer was a song writer who had gotten into the jewelry business which eventually evolved into a sewing machine business at 1313 Grand, Kansas City. He was a real traveling salesman who especially enjoyed being on the road.
Jerry Smith’s grandfather, O.K. Smith, bought the family business after getting out of the Army and moved the business to Chicago in about 1920. He first located on West Madison and then moved to Adams on the present site of the Sears Tower. Recent customers are most familiar with the company’s last location at 847 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago.
Jerry’s father, Keith Smith, past president of Brewer, started at an early age contributing to the business. Keith’s recollections include memories of doing drawings for the catalog when he was fourteen or fifteen years old, for which he earned enough to buy a Leica camera. He graduated with a B.A. in fine arts from the University of Iowa. He has applied his talent and training to the Brewer catalog for forty-four years. Brewer also has had the advantage of the fine business sense of Keith’s wife, Ingeborg. Jerry Smith now oversees the day-to-day operations of this fast-growing company. He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan with a business degree on May 15, 1977 and he began working the next day. Such dedication to Brewer runs in the family. Recently little seven-year-old Alex was running around the Brewer halls. Jerry took him by the hand to go into the warehouse and said, “Come on! Let’s go sell sewing machines!” The tradition continues.
Burgeoning sales at Brewer Sewing Supplies forced a recent move into a new corporate headquarters and warehouse according to Jerry Smith, executive vice-president. Since Jerry joined the family business in 1977, sales have increased over 1,000 percent. The new location at 3800 West 42nd Street, Chicago, IL, is a modern 52,000 square foot building. Brewer has the services of computer analyst Denny Bromberek, who is also vice president of operations. Also the Brewer warehouse will utilize some of the modern parts-picking techniques, including a carousel which will bring the parts to the order filler. Brewer has seen many innovations in its nearly 80 year history, all making for faster, more efficient service.
1994 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee