Elm Grove, Wisconsin - Harry Felker, president and last surviving founding father of local appliance and home theater retailer Colder's, died on Tuesday, April 19. He was 95.
Colder's was founded by brother Henry Felker, in 1942 as a commercial refrigeration service business. In 1946, after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Harry joined his brother to branch out into home refrigerator and freezer sales.
The two brothers worked from the back of their truck unloading the freezers directly from the trains and selling them in neighborhoods throughout the Milwaukee area. They eventually opened their first store in Milwaukee, and in the late 1940s the third brother, the late Walter Felker, also joined the business. In the 1950s washers, dryers and ovens were added to the merchandising mix, and furniture was added in the 1960s.
Today, there are four Colder's locations in West Allis, Oak Creek, Delafield and Grafton, Wisconsin.
Felker, affectionately known as "Mr. Harry," was known for his catchphrase, "keep moving." He was insistent that if you were alive you should be moving and doing something productive.
Over the last 10 years of his life Felker followed his own advice by frequently visiting Colder's locations, particularly the West Allis location, to say "hello" to the employees and see how business was for the day. Due to the expansive footage of the Colder's West Allis showroom and warehouse Harry was often seen riding his bike around the inside of the store. He would frequently bring apples from a local orchard when he visited and personally deliver an apple and a smile to each of the employees.
The Felker family still owns and operates all four Colder's locations with Harry's vision of quality, value and service, a family statement said. Colder's is a member of Home Entertainment Source (HES), a division of BrandSource.
Felker is survived by his wife of 73 years, Lucille V. (Michels), three sons, three daughters, 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.