FERREE’S TOOLS FAMILY
To provide for the modern band instrument Repairman, the most economical, high quality, up to date and easy to use tools available today. Ferree's tool designs have always been based on " Simplicity, Accuracy and Efficiency" while focused on "Quality, Economy and Service".
We are proud to announce that Ferree’s Tools has a combined 429 years of experience! It is exciting to know that we have such dedicated employees whose hard work over the years has shaped Ferree’s Tools into the business we are today. First and foremost, our President Barb Ferree, has been here since we opened in 1946; adding 69 (almost 70) years of knowledge and hard work to this great establishment.
The guys and gals in the shop have 194 years combined in the manufacture of our quality tools. Among them, Curtis Ferree, Vice President of the company has 27 years’ experience and Steve W., the shop foreman, with 36. There is also Roger with 28 years, Jill with 26 years, Keith with 25 years, Steve Y. with 23 years, Ryan T. with 22 years, Glen with 21 years, Dale with 15 years, Ken with 12 years, Ryan Ferree with 4 years, and Brian with 2 year.
When you call Ferree’s or submit an order via email or fax, you will be communicating with one of our experienced office staff. Newest member to the office is RayAnn who helps with the every day customer service. The office manager, Wendy has been here for 5 years and Dana in customer service and invoicing has been here for 2. Plus we have Candy who takes care of receiving along with customer service. We also have Lyle, who is our IT guy and manages our website, who has 26 years with us.
Once an order is placed and sent the back for processing, it will run through the hands of our experienced shipping department. Linda, who works in our pad department has been with us for 38 years. Suzy with 22 years’ experience and Patti, our newest employee, work in the stockroom pulling orders for shipment. In the shipping department, we have Ashlee who joined us about 2 year ago and Cindy who has been around for 29 years.
The History Of Ferree’s Tools Inc.
Cliff Ferree (1923-2011), founder of Ferree’s Tools, Inc., had an excellent background in the repair field. After graduating from Battle Creek High School in 1942, he married Barbara in September of that same year. He played in several Army Air Force bands during WWII and after his discharge in 1945, he attended the Conn Repair School in Elkhart, Indiana. After graduation in 1946, he immediately opened his own one room repair shop in Battle Creek, Michigan known as Ferree’s Music Shop which was located on the second floor above a shoe store. Business grew rapidly and he had several locations in downtown Battle Creek before buying a building on Calhoun Street where he began renting instruments on a trial basis. Due to the increase in business, he partnered with Jack Masteller, a former band director, so he could focus on the repair department. The retail portion of the business was later sold due to the expansion of the tool business which was Cliff’s passion. In 1956, Cliff bought the repair tool departments of both Conn and Leblanc.
From 1962 thru 1967, Cliff conducted a very successful series of 2 week repair courses. During this time (1965), he moved the business to its current location, 1477 Michigan Ave. East. Two large additions were added to the building in 1967 and a second building was completed in 1976 due to a large increase in business. In 1979, Cliff gave his first foreign repair clinic in W. Germany and a similar one in Norway in 1980.
Barbara Ferree helped Ferree’s Tools become one of the largest manufacturers of band instrument repair tools with her knowledge and business intellect in the office. She did all the bookkeeping from the beginning in 1946 and served as Secretary-Treasurer for many years. Starting in 1957, Barbara produced the company’s first catalogs, advertising and layouts. Barbara is still very actively involved in the company as President, consulting via phone and email from Florida when necessary and comes to the factory every summer.
Cliff and Barbara had 5 sons, Gary, Jim, Bob, Pete and Tom. All of which have worked in the business at one time or another, especially their eldest Gary (1944-2009). He worked in the shop and took to it just like his dad and served as the Repair Consultant for many years. He also took over for Cliff in attending all of the brass and woodwind clinics in Germany for several years. In the meantime, Gary’s son Curtis, had been working in the shop, was assistant shop foreman and in charge of Research and Development. Curtis is now Vice President and represents the company at both the NAMM Convention in Anaheim, California and the Musikmesse Exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany each spring. The Ferree’s four sons now actively serve on the Advisory Board.
Cliff always attributed the growth of the company to the fact that he had been active in the repair field and realized the needs of other repairmen. He was constantly on the lookout for methods to improve tools and supplies needed by musical instrument repairmen throughout the world. Using these tools can help complete difficult and complicated jobs more simply, in much less time and more accurately. There have been large investments to update company machinery in an effort to keep production costs as low as possible.
The name Ferree’s has always stood for efficient manufacturing and pride in our products. The quality and service represented by our logo are always the best we can give.
Clifford Maurice Ferree, founder of Ferree’s Tools, Inc., passed away on Wednesday Nov. 2. He is survived by his wife, Michelle, and four sons from a previous marriage. He has 17 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren. Cliff was born June 26, 1923 . His parents were Samuel J. and Agnes Ferree of Battle Creek. He met his first wife, Barbara Iden, in high school. He graduated from Battle Creek Central High School in June, 1942 and he and Barbara were married in September of 1942.
After working at the Clark Equipment Co. for several months, he enlisted in the Army in December 1942 and was stationed in Savannah, GA and Denver, CO. He was later transferred to the 764th Army Air Corps Band in Stuttgart, AR. After his discharge in late 1945 at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio, Cliff was a door-to-door salesman for about six months while waiting to go to the Conn Band Instrument Repair School on the G.I. Bill of Rights.
After Cliff graduated from the Conn repair school, in December 1946 he opened a one room band instrument sales and repair shop, Ferree’s Music Shop, on the second floor at 25 NE Capital Avenue in Battle Creek. New instruments were hard to come by after the war and Cliff started getting so many repair customers that he outgrew the room in less than a year. He moved to Battle Creek’s main street, Michigan Avenue, to a 2-room basement location with a sidewalk entrance. He outgrew that within a year, as new Instruments became available, and moved to a section of a building at 56 State Street. They finally took over 5 sections of the building. Barbara worked with him as bookkeeper and in sales from day one.
Cliff became interested in tools for repairing and started working on some improvements in his garage. After about five years, he built a building at 110 Calhoun Street and set up part of the building for making tools. In 1956 the company bought the band instrument repair tool departments from the C.G. Conn Co. and the G. Leblanc Co. The company name was changed to Ferree’s Band Instrument Tools and Supplies. That same year he took Jack Masteller, a former professional musician and band director, as a partner. Jack took over the retail part of the business so that Cliff could concentrate on the tools.
In 1962 Cliff started a series of band instrument repair training clinics which ran every year until 1967.In 1965 the company moved to a much larger building at 1477 E.. Michigan Ave . and added a second building two years later. In 1972 Cliff sold his interest in the retail business to Jack Masteller and he kept the repair tool business.
In 1982 Cliff became a charter member of the organization which evolved into NAPBIRT. In 1982 he was awarded the International Ambassador Award from NAPBIRT. In 1983, Gary received the same award. In 1984 and 1986, Ferree’s offered another series of repair classes, each open to about 30 students. Gary taught four 3 day classes in 1984 and in 1986 he taught four 2 day classes. In 1984 the company name was shortened to Ferree’s Tools, Inc..
Cliff also enjoyed flying his Piper Tri-Pacer and later, boating in a trawler. At one time they boated from Saugatuck, Mi. down the Mississippi across the Gulf down to St. Petersburg FL. Later, they boated from Saugatuck around Michigan, through the Erie Canal, down the East Coast to Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Cliff enjoyed playing trombone in several community bands in Battle Creek and Marshal, Michigan and Florida. He was a member of the Battle Creek Commandery No. 33, a life member of the Saladin Shrine and a 65 year member of the Gen. Geo. Custer American Legion Post #54."
Cliff and Barbara were divorced in 1990. They had five boys: the oldest Gary, passed away in 2009. Three of the boys still live in Battle Creek, Jim, Pete and Tom and Tom’s partner, Tami Brewer. Bob, wife Jeri and their family live in Castle Rock, CO. The five boys all worked in the business at various times, later moving on to other interests. Gary came back into the business in 2000 and was active until his death in 2009. He primarily worked with customers who came into the shop or called on the phone, as well as working on new tools. Gary’s son, Curtis, has been with the company over 22 years. He is assistant shop foreman and is now the primary customer contact.