Letter to the Editor: Figi children address closure
We learned with sadness this week about the decision by the Mason Company to close Figi’s. The focus of the business changed significantly under a variety of owners after our family sold it to WR Grace in 1970. That, and the general decline of direct mail and advent of on-line sales, clearly added to the challenge of remaining profitable.
When our parents created Figi’s Gifts in Good Taste in the kitchen of their one bedroom apartment on West Cleveland Street in 1944, they had no idea it would become so popular. A tremendous reason for its success – and why we are writing today – is to thank the countless talented and devoted people who worked there, many turning a job at Figi’s into a life-long commitment.
People who will remain forever in our hearts with love and appreciation include: Ray Lee, Dick Hewitt, George Douma, Joe Fouts, Bruce Kessinger, Lloyd Hilt, Shirley Andres, “Heinie” Dickoff, JoAnne Kaiser, Darlene Krake, Marcy Bell, Julie Schindhelm, Dave Thiesson, Tom Gregg, Mary Schlagenhaft, Howie Metz, Kurt Henning, Margie and Dale Schindler, Sally Shrage, Ruth Haumschild, John Felhofer, Cheryl Keene, and far too many others to name. It’s been 75 years, so impossible to include or even know everyone who devoted themselves to the company to this extent. Surely a name will come up and we’ll kick ourselves, but we hope anyone we failed to mention will forgive the omission.
We are particularly grateful to the literally thousands of men and women who worked seasonally over the years – especially those who made sure the “little Figi boys”, starting at ages 5 and 6, didn’t get hurt as they ran around the production area stacking gift boxes to earn Christmas money.
Our father took a sincere, personal interest in everyone who worked at Figi’s. He would have been disappointed and sad this week, as we are, but especially he would have wanted to say “thank you” to each and every person who gave of themselves to make the business a success and something of which to be proud. His thoughts and genuine concern would extend to those now seeking new jobs, and wish them confidence and success in finding something in every way fulfilling.
Sara, Eric, and Hans Figi