Blanche stood by as the Internal Revenue Service, using axes and hatchets, dumped thousands of gallons of wine into the Genesee River. Unfortunately, much good wine was wasted that day. With the passing of John went the passing of much needed knowledge. Neither Blanche nor her daughter Nancy knew enough about production or finance to continue managing the business without advice.
Jack Fee had graduated from St. Jack had helped his father for a couple of summers but his duties mainly involved maintenance. He had no experience in production. In November , 26 year old Jack married Margaret Benn. She was the daughter of the widely respected funeral director, Joseph Benn, and his wife, Genevieve. When John died in , Jack started to help his mother and sister. He worked days at Kodak and the evenings making batches at Fee Brothers. In , he quit his job at Kodak. Once again, Fee Brothers had been passed to the next generation.
The business needed to relocate to a better building. Jack knew very little about how to produce and market drink mixes. However, he started with the already established Frothy Mixer and from there continued on a never-ending quest to develop new products. His ever-supportive wife, Margaret, handled the books and customer service. She performed both these tasks in expert fashion. Blanche continued to help when needed.
Jack read volumes and asked questions until he gained enough knowledge to satisfy the void. Before long, new products such as Grenadine and Bitters began to appear on the display shelves in the Fee Brothers front office. Soon Fee Brothers was again hiring employees to help keep up with the orders. Joe's intelligence, mechanical ability and great knowledge of tax matters were of enormous help to Fee Brothers during this time. He was missed by all after his sudden death in With the addition of new products and more employees, came the need for more space.
It was June when Fee Brothers picked up and moved. The Field Street building had approximately 3, square feet of space. The new building on Portland Avenue had about 12, square feet.
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Thinking that this would be all the space he would ever need, Jack smiled and spread out into this vast expanse. It was only one month prior to the big move to Portland Avenue that Jack and Margaret's eighth child, Joseph, was born. Their children were: John C. Of course Jack and Margaret worked there daily but those children who were old enough helped during their summers.
All this help, along with the steadfast efforts of three loyal employees Lucille Gianforti-office, Joe Kearns and Mel Thurman-production during the 's and 's, helped Fee Brothers to make a name for itself. New customers and increased orders began pouring in. Fee Brothers became nationally known. Sales were being made all over the U. New and better equipment was purchased. Two 1, gallon tanks were acquired to handle the increased demand. Larger and faster production line machinery was put in place. However, even with all this modernization, care was still taken to assure a clean and neat looking product.
Because of the distinctly unique type of label used for Bitters, those bottles would be labeled by hand. Blanche would often do this job, carefully labeling them one by one. Unfortunately in the Spring of , Blanche had a stroke and passed away at the age of By this time, Jack's son, John C. From to he would prove to be a great influence on sales and company growth. Before too long, with Jack's guidance, Ellen became Production Manager.
She also took up the quest to develop new products. The future would prove that it is very convenient to have the service of an in-house artist. Fee Brothers was growing rapidly now. What was first viewed as a vast expanse of space, the Portland Avenue building started to become confining. In the late 's the adjacent property to the south was purchased so that a loading dock could be built.
This addition also housed the whole shipping department. In May , the building adjacent to Fee Brothers on the north was added to the property. By cutting an opening in the wall, the two buildings were connected. The addition doubled the warehouse space and enabled Jack to realize his dream of a Fee Brothers Museum. In May , having graduated from Notre Dame University with a degree in Business Administration, Joseph started working on a permanent basis.
He was the youngest child of Margaret and Jack. Under Margaret's watchful eye he began to take on not only the duties of Office Manager but also the responsibilities of the sales department. In the course of all these administrative challenges, Joe brought Fee Brothers into the computer age. In , it became necessary to create labels for several different products. However, by this time the label design for the established products had become outdated. With this in mind, Ellen and Joe developed a new label design depicting the four original brothers: Owen, John, James, and Joseph.
The original Fee Brothers signature logo was kept for this new label design.
This signature was first written by a man named James O'Rorke who worked as a bookkeeper for James and John in the 's. This label symbolically combines the old with the new, the roots with the descendants, and the good ideas of the past with the good ideas of the present. In June of , Jack almost 90 years old transferred ownership of the business to daughter, Ellen and his son, Joe.
Jack, however, continued to keep a hand in the day to day operations. In the first year of ownership, Ellen and Joe tackled the need for an additional bottling line. By the summer of , just after the year anniversary, they were able to open a newly built warehouse to the south end of the building. It gave much need storage space as well as over racks for pallets of finished goods. In May , the matriarch of Fee Brothers, Jack's wife, Margaret passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
In the weeks following her death, Jack would often say that she was the best wife a man could ever want and he missed her terribly. It was just four months later that Jack died in September at the ripe old age of Today, Fee Brothers is still stretching and expanding. The product list boasts almost drink mix products.
‘Brothers,’ by George Howe Colt
Fee Brothers' market stretches from coast to coast in the United States. Products are also shipped to six continents. Fee Brothers sells their products to a variety of different types of distributors as well as restaurants, bars, coffee shops, ice cream shops, and other food service operations. Now the fourth generation of Fees is looking ahead with positive anticipation. The care that Fee Brothers puts into bottling their products and the concern for each and every customer's needs carries the company into the future.
The Fee family takes pride in their company's history by displaying this little verse:. Close Image.
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History of Fee Brothers The year was The Fee family takes pride in their company's history by displaying this little verse: " The House of Fee by the Genesee since eighteen hundred and sixty-three. Doherty's book gives us almost pages of possible reasons; but in my own case, being brought up by parents destined to divorce acrimoniously didn't exactly help matters. Neither did the fact that my poor brother, who resembled my father so much more than I did, became a painful reminder for my mother of the husband who was no longer around. If she treated us differently, she certainly didn't mean to, but I felt she expected more of me than she did of him.
I became in many ways her ally, and a co-parent whether I wanted to or not.
Little wonder, then, that we became such enemies: we represented different sides entirely, and uneven ones at that. My mother, after all, was still around; my father wasn't. We also responded to our parents' divorce very differently. I internalised everything; he mostly externalised. This meant that while I remained unerringly — or, the way I saw it, necessarily — calm, he was quick to lose his patience, and frequently did so at school, resulting in me being called to the headmaster's office for "consultation".
We were now the product of a broken family, he told me, and so such behaviour was only to be expected.
History - Fee Brothers
But all I felt was the burden of even greater responsibility. I didn't want any such responsibility. At home, though each of us became expert at giving each other dead arms, we bickered far more than we actually fought, though we did so endlessly and, as we got older, our warring became more psychological, and ugly with it. Summer holidays were the worst. There were intermittent amnesties, of course, periods when we managed to put our differences aside and come together in something approaching harmony.
These occurred during my mother's frequent bouts of depression. We knew that she was depressed when the housework went ignored she was ordinarily a cleanliness freak , and so in these times we became a fully functioning unit, working in tandem for our mutual benefit. It was the only way we knew to try to bring back a smile to our mother's face. But it didn't last and we soon fell back into our by now habitual ways.
Doesn't everyone? In adulthood, something curiously distinct happened to us. I entered into a kind of second childhood, vigorously embracing the sudden absence of familial responsibility, while he had his career in place by the age of 21, and also a mortgage. He would go on to marry his childhood sweetheart, and become a decent, respectable citizen. Every so often we would, at my mother's behest read: pleading , all meet up for a meal — in a restaurant, amid the safety of other people — in the hope that grown-up harmony had at last found us, but by now we were to one another the kind of people we would cross the road to avoid.
At best, we had nothing to say to one another; at worst, there were all manner of disagreements to enter into, and so we did. My mother grew dispirited; respective girlfriends were not impressed. The last time I saw him was in November , when my mother died of cancer. By now living in America and working in IT, he had flown over for the funeral and stayed on in London for a week afterwards while we went about the protracted business of tying up her affairs.
If a week is a long time in politics, then for unloving brothers it's a hellish eternity. This final amnesty lasted for the day of the funeral itself, by which time we had exhausted one another's mettle, leaving us only with tiresomely old hostilities, and a shared sense of shock over who we had become in the intervening years. He was by now a successful professional who smoked cigars and couldn't believe I didn't know which version of Microsoft Word my computer ran on.
He considered me irresponsible and foolishly carefree, a year-old without a pension. His last day in London was a memorable one, my then girlfriend now wife holding us apart as we squared up to each other, fists raised. A decade on, I am now a father myself. And though geography saves my family from coming into further conflict with his, I do worry that I shall pass these miserably dysfunctional behavioural patterns down to my two daughters, aged four and two, something I desperately want to avoid.
They are bullet points I may well follow to the letter, for I want my girls to be allies in life, not enemies.