ABOUT SHERMAN SUPPLY
In Poland in the early 1900's, the Russian Army engaged in a quick and effective recruiting method. It simply forced young men from their villages and pressed them into the service of the Tsar.
In this matter for once, young Abe Sherman, age 16, took his mother's advice and set out for America to seek his fame and fortune. He reached Paris, where he worked as a horse buggy driver to earn his passage across the Atlantic. In New York, he resumed his career as a buggy driver and remained there several years until the call of the West became too much to bear. He landed in Seattle at the height of the Alaskan Gold rush, and soon was in full swing supplying would-be prospectors with the tools of their trade. After the Gold Rush, Abe turned his attention to the salvaging and recycling of building materials. One notable of his projects was the dismantling and reassembly of an Army barracks from Ft. Farragat in Idaho. That barracks still stands on the comer of 7th Ave. S. and S. Lander St.
R: Abe, Maurice, Jack & Luigi Sherman
After World War II, Abe's nephew, Marvin Federman, returned from service in Europe and went to work for his uncle. About this time, Abe purchased the warehouse on S. First Ave. just north of Lander Street, to be home to the company for almost 60 years. While recycling used building materials remained a large part of Sherman Supply's business, Marvin brought government salvage into the equation, he being a veteran with special status to purchase all kinds of war surplus. Hose and pipefitting were now included in the list of product Sherman Supply & Salvage Company could offer its customers. (During the construction of the Alaska Pipeline, the company worked from 6:30am to 7:00pm five days a week, fabricating hose pipes and fittings.) Abe eventually left the business to his nephew to follow his real love of thoroughbred horses.
In 1979, Marvin's son, Murray, came into the business and added his two-cents' worth, first with PVC pipe and fittings, then into drip irrigation supplies and sprinkler systems. Soon after, the decision was made to move inside the home, and Sherman Supply expanded into china and brass kitchen and bathroom fixtures. To differentiate itself from every other fixture business and home improvement warehouse, Sherman Supply introduced fixtures from Portugal, Italy, France, Turkey, Japan and other exotic locations. This thrilled the instant money-makers of the Seattle dot.com rush (very similar to the Gold Rush a century before). While traditional styles out-sold Contemporary, Sherman found a niche that worked and soon had to expand its small showroom. The week after completing the 800 square foot remodel, Mother Nature showed her mischievous side and hit the area with the Nisqually earthquake. Showroom damage was light, since only a few of the displays had been set up, but the rest of the warehouse didn't fair as well. A brick chimney upstairs collapsed, destroying all in its path. A 2" waterline sheared off, sending water through the floorboards. The place was a mess. Months later, the mess behind them, Sherman Supply continued to fill the showroom with new products. Toto occupied a good portion of the space.