RIP greenhouseman

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jsalk

RIP greenhouseman
« on: 16 Oct 2019, 04:44 pm »
Someone once asked Albert Von Schweikert what advice he would have for someone thinking about getting into the speaker business.  His advice was to find someone with about $2 million to invest.  Without it, he said, it would simply take too long to get things going and you would likely fail.

I hadn't read his comments when we started building speakers.  If I had, I don't know if we would have tried to establish our business.

About a year into it, I received an order for a pair of SongTowers and we started work on them.  About two weeks later, I got a call from the customer saying he had just seen another speaker model on our website and wanted to know how they would compare.  It was unfortunate, he said, that he couldn't listen to them to make a comparison.  I asked where he lived since it might have been possible to arrange an audition with an owner.  He indicated he lived in an area that wasn't likely to have many audiophiles so that an audition probably wasn't a possibility.

I asked him again where he lived.  "Waterford, Michigan," he said.  I asked what he was doing in about 10 minutes since that was about how close he was to our shop in Pontiac.  That was the beginning of a great friendship.

Eric never had much money.  As a young man, he worked long hours for little pay as a roadie for Bob Seger. When it was time to settle down, Eric decided to take over his father's greenhouse business.  That, again, meant very long hours for very little pay.  Nearly every penny he earned went back into his greenhouse business.

About the time we met him, the county approached him wanting the land his greenhouse occupied for expansion of a county park.  Eventually he agreed on a price and sold his business.  Unfortunately, at about that same time, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. He always commented that he spent his entire life without money and now that he had it, he no longer had his health. And of the two, health was obviously more important.

Being retired, he had time on his hands and every once in a while stopped by the shop just to visit and see what we were doing.  One day he asked me how we were doing.  I told him that this was a very tough business and I didn't know how things would work out long term. 

A few days later, Eric called asking for our bank account information.  He said he wanted to make a deposit for another pair of speakers. At the time, I thought that was a bit strange since we just finished a pair for him.  But we needed the work, so I gave him the information he requested.

Later that day, my curiosity got the best of me and I checked our bank account.  There was a $30,000 deposit from Eric Ernst. 

I immediately called Eric to ask what in the world he was doing.  He said he loved what we were doing and had a lot of faith in us personally.  He thought the money would be more useful to us than to him.

I don't know if we would be here today were in not for Eric and his generous loan in those early days.

Eric moved to Las Vegas after retirement, but would call every once in a while just to chat.  In a conversation a few weeks ago, he indicated to me that he was no longer living, but merely existing.  I think we both knew it would be our final conversation.

Yesterday I got a call from Eric's wife.  Eric passed away on Monday.  It was sad news indeed.

A few months ago, Eric shipped some of his speakers to us to sell.  He didn't want his wife to have to deal with them when he was gone.  There is a listing on the "Available for Immediate Delivery" for a pair of Silk Monitors and matching 12" Rythmik subwoofer in some really nice block mottled makore.  They are still available.  We also have a pair of on-wall HT1's done in tineo that I have not listed yet.

Hopefully those will sell soon so I can send the funds to Eric's wife.

All I can say at this point is, Eric, we will miss you.  Hopefully the sounds you are hearing now are the songs of the angels my friend. RIP.

- Jim


Peter J

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Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #1 on: 16 Oct 2019, 04:54 pm »
What a touching story, Jim. Thanks for telling it.

And Eric, Godspeed onto whatever's next. I'd say you earned a few markers during your time on the earth.

Wind Chaser

Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #2 on: 16 Oct 2019, 06:13 pm »
Wow! What an incredible and benevolent man, thanks for sharing his story with us.

Quote
There is a listing on the "Available for Immediate Delivery" for a pair of Silk Monitors and matching 12" Rythmik subwoofer in some really nice block mottled makore.

I can't seem to find the ad. Could post a link to it here in this thread?

SFDude

Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #3 on: 16 Oct 2019, 06:15 pm »
My condolences. Eric is in a better place and we are lesser as a result of it.

Also looking for the listing link.

Peter J

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Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #4 on: 16 Oct 2019, 06:35 pm »

Berto

Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #5 on: 16 Oct 2019, 08:48 pm »
Wow Jim, touching story indeed. Rest in peace to Eric and strength to his loved ones. Eric sounds like a very generous and kind soul. A class act just like you!

 I wish you continued success. See you at CAF.

Rob

abd1

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Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #6 on: 16 Oct 2019, 09:21 pm »
I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. He sounds like a very genuine, generous individual. The world can always use more people like him.

Meicheng

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Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #7 on: 16 Oct 2019, 10:59 pm »
Its the friends and relationships you make in this (and any) hobby that are perhaps the most fulfilling aspect of all. 

Photon46

Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #8 on: 16 Oct 2019, 11:02 pm »
Thanks for sharing that Jim. In these times of seeming constant bickering and strife, it's wonderful to hear a story like that. I know you're grateful for Eric's generosity and will miss him.

PSB Guy

Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #9 on: 16 Oct 2019, 11:07 pm »
What a great story. My condolences.

thunderbrick

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Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #10 on: 16 Oct 2019, 11:51 pm »
A class act from a wonderful human being.  Just what we need to hear these days.

I'd like to think many/most of the GAS EDIT:AUDIO CIRCLE membership aspire to be like him.   I certainly have met a lot of them in the GAS... :notworthy:
« Last Edit: 20 Oct 2019, 07:05 pm by thunderbrick »

JDoyle

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Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #11 on: 17 Oct 2019, 01:18 am »
A wonderful story and beautifully written... it makes me appreciate how lucky I am to have my Encores.
I’m going to listen to them right now and toast your friend... I think I’ll play some Seger too.

John

sebrof

Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #12 on: 17 Oct 2019, 06:13 pm »
Very nice story. Good people don't get enough press these days.
Thanks for posting.

Big Red Machine

Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #13 on: 18 Oct 2019, 01:56 am »
Sad to hear. He was a super nice guy. And he knew quality and sincerity when he saw it. That’s why he invested in Salk!

RIP Eric

R Swerdlow

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Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #14 on: 20 Oct 2019, 02:21 am »
Yes, quite a story about Eric.

I respect and understand what he did.  If I had that kind of money burning a hole in my pocket, I might have done the same.  Easy to say, much harder to do.  RIP Eric.

Remember to enjoy yourselves – it's later than you than you think.

Mudslide

Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #15 on: 20 Oct 2019, 03:57 pm »
Thank you for this story, Jim.  He was a real friend to you in your time of need.  And I hear a few echos of his story in this wonderful hobby of ours and the wonderful people populating it.

Be at peace, Eric.

rollo

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Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #16 on: 20 Oct 2019, 04:21 pm »
A classic story of helping out another. Touching Jim thank you for sharing. We need more kind people like Eric.


charles

Yomaha

Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #17 on: 20 Oct 2019, 04:51 pm »
Touching story Jim. Thanks for sharing. What kind and generous soul. RIP greenhouseman

Daedalus Audio

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Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #18 on: 20 Oct 2019, 07:03 pm »
Great story Jim, and it is no surprise that someone would be so kind and generous in helping you. I can think of no one in the industry who is more kind, honest, and decent than you!
I hope Eric is at peace and I'm sure that in his time on the planet he left the world a better place.

Paret

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Re: RIP greenhouseman
« Reply #19 on: 22 Oct 2019, 05:50 pm »
Thank you for sharing Jim.

My sincere condolences to you and his family.

Luis D. Paret
Keller, TX