Farnham Equipment Company began in the dining room of Rodger & Barbara Farnham’s rented house on Meeker St. in Greenville, OH in 1954. It was originally envisioned as a school furniture and supply organization in Southwest Ohio, modeled after a company in Illinois for whom Rodger worked before moving to Ohio.
With a broad specialty in school equipment and cabinets, Barbara Farnham said they sold, “just about anything that goes inside a school besides kids and books.” Rodger hit the pavement and Barbara answered the phone and kept the books. Sales were hard to come by at first, but relationships were formed and orders soon followed. Additional salespersons were hired, some successfully, others not so much.
The company was incorporated in 1962 and in 1965 relocated to an abandoned Cincinnati-Northern Railway Depot station in Greenville, Ohio. Rodger and Barbara had previously been renting a room in the station for storage. When the station was set to be demolished, the Farnhams bought the station seeing an opportunity for their new headquarters. Adjoining the station was an ex-New Haven box car they used for storage and a renovated ex-New York Central wooden Lake-Shore-Model caboose, which they had refurbished on the inside with air conditioning, carpet, and new paneling. The renovated caboose served as a space for occasional sales meetings and displays. By 1974, Rodger and Barbara employed 8 others at Farnham Equipment Company, including their two-person installation team.
Relationships with equipment manufacturers developed and blossomed, the beginnings of long term partners with whom FEC still partners with today.
Jack & Tom Farnham (2nd Generation of Farnhams) began working for the Company in the early 1970’s. Sales offices were opened in Westerville, OH and Cincinnati, OH and the business expanded to serve NW, SW, Central and Southern Ohio. “We began to see that more and more of our business involved the installation of products,” states Jack Farnham. An in-house installation crew was formed and as business continued to grow, outside salespeople were added and the installation team increased in size. Jack Farnham commented, “As with most businesses, technology advances allowed us to computerize our operations and work “smarter.” Our “niche” changed from a loose furniture marketing company to a fixed equipment design and installation specialty firm. Our emphasis moved toward the architectural, design, and construction end of our marketplace. We began to focus on trying to do a better job on the promotion of fewer products and concentrate on manufacturer’s with whom we had developed a strong relationship, including Stevens Industries, Hussey Seating Company, and ICI Scientific, formally known as CampbellRhea, all of whom we still work with today.” To this day, Farnham Equipment Company continues to specialize in Casework, Bleachers, Grandstands, Telescoping Platforms, Fixed Seating, Athletic Equipment, and Furniture Products to the educational, healthcare, and institutional marketplace.
David Farnham, (3rd generation), joined FEC in 2000 as a Project Engineer charged with expanding construction operations. Over the years, his role has evolved into Project Management and to Vice President Operations, interacting with rapidly expanding and professionalizing construction management firms in the industry, many of which became some of our most important clients. As Tom Farnham began to step back from the business, David Farnham began to move forward.
At the urging of Hussey Seating Company and Stevens Industries, business expanded to cover Northeast Ohio. By 2009 FEC, now covering the entire state of Ohio, consolidated its efforts to one main office in Columbus, where it remains today.
Leveraging on the expertise and 30+ years of installation experience, Farnham Equipment expanded and professionalized their commitment to the service and repair business in 2010. David Farnham shared, “This facet of the organization continues to grow and we are encouraged with the feedback received from industry leaders and our customers on the quality of the service that we continue to provide.” Investments continue to be made in technology, management personnel, field technicians, vehicles and equipment to better serve customers throughout the state.
Not only is the Company now led by a 3rd generation family member, David Farnham, but FEC boasts about the employment of other multiple generation personnel. The main office is now staffed by 10 team members collaborating to provide a turn-key solution from pre-construction, products and installation, to service and maintenance. Installation, service, and repair work continue to be provided by Farnham Equipment Company in-house installers and service technicians, many of which have been with the company for over a decade or are second and third generation family members. We believe this is a testament to the quality of our organization and the character of Our Mission to:
Serve all of our customers by providing honest answers, showing up on time, and doing what we say we are going to do
Add value to our customers’ product investments with the service we provide and solutions our experience can offer
Have a long term commitment to our products, the facilities in which they are used and the communities which they serve.
Collaboratively share our success by investing in all our employees and create a culture which rewards their hard work at all levels