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
Felker is survived by his wife of 73 years, Lucille V. (Michels),
three sons, three daughters, 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.