Classic Products Corp. (Classic) was started by Bob Carteaux and Marty Schmidt in 1959 as Fort Wayne Bowling Supply (FWBS) in a small pro shop in the Key Lanes Bowling Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Both retail and wholesale activities were operated out of the same small shop for several years. In addition to the wholesale and retail business a trophy division, a bowling lanes resurfacing operation and a screen print and embroidery division were soon added.
Significant growth occurred when FWBS acquired exclusive Midwest U.S. rights to the Manhattan Rubber bowling ball line and DBA products.
The business was further expanded in 1964 when a fifth division was started on a separate retail site to sell dash mounted eight track stereo tape players.
In 1965 the business was split into two separate companies: the wholesale/retail bowling supply and screen print and embroidery operations remained as The Classic Company while the car stereo and trophies operations were sold off to separate ownership, both of which are in operation today as Classic Stereo and Classic Trophies.
In 1980 The Classic Company expanded its lettering operation into non-bowling opportunities, most significantly toward tee shirts for the music industry. This aspect became the dominant force within the company leading eventually to the sale of the bowling supply operation in 1987. This portion of the original company, the core of the original enterprise was moved and renamed Classic Products Corp.
Classic, since its inception, has operated out of its corporate headquarters in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Since then many changes have occurred but the company has always stayed true to its devotion to serve the greater bowling industry in general and specifically the pro shops and bowling centers that service the great sport of bowling.
Growth has come from investing in the people, inventory and systems necessary to deliver to our customers what they want when they want it just as often as we can. In addition, Classic has acquired several other bowling products distribution companies over the years, including:
Fort Wayne, Indiana – Purchased from Dave Kirschner, the son of Dick Kirschner, a great lover of bowling and an influential member of the bowling community in the Midwest for over forty years. At one time Dick was the general manger of the Classic Bowling Supply division.
Plant City, Florida – This Company was purchased from its founders, Jerry and Reed Thomas, two long time participants in the distribution and center management sides of bowling. Reed died in 2007. This division now operates out of Largo, Florida.
Cullen Bowling Supply
Clearwater, Florida – This organization was purchased from the heirs of Mike Cullen, a 20+ year owner of this successful bowling supply operation.
Universal Bowling Supply
Chicago, Illinois – This Company was acquired from the son of the much beloved Sam Weinstein, a legendary figure in the history of bowling.
B&B Bowling Supply
Dallas, Texas – This operation was acquired from the group that bought B&B from the well-known and highly respected Ronnie Rhodes. Ronnie remains very active in his many endeavors and is actually the landlord of our Dallas facility.
Done-Rite Bowling Supply
Cleveland, Ohio – This Company was acquired from Bob and Glenn Gable. Bob served the bowling industry for over 50 years with a class and distinction second to none. Bob passed away in 2008. Glenn owns and manages a thriving chain of centers throughout the Cleveland and greater Northeast Ohio region.
Complete Bowling Service, Inc.
Kent, Washington – Complete was founded in 1975 by Gary Wilson and Dee Swenson. Gary, who was eventually joined in the business by his son Dave, maintained ownership throughout the company’s very successful run serving the Western United States and Canada and the Pacific Rim. Dave now serves as Classic’s Western Division General Manager.
Classic Products is now comprised of six business units, organized as follows: