Empire Sheet Metal L.L.C. will break ground within the next two weeks to begin construction of new state of the art facilities in Broken Arrow’s 6100 Center. The new building will house all office staff and shop employees.
Having been started about 1930 by Gilbert Reeves and Earl McBride the company has historical significance. The two men were equal partners, but the business was always managed by Mr. Reeves who was known as “Pappy” by his friends and employees. Empire Sheet Metal has been a downtown Tulsa business from inception. The first location was near 4th and Kenosha. During the thirties, it was relocated to near Delaware and Admiral and then again to 112 East Archer. In 1981 the business was relocated to make way for the Williams Center and moved to its present location at 212 South Kenosha.
The business under Pappy’s management played a significant role in many downtown construction projects, including the installation of air conditioning in many of the office buildings during the time when businesses first began to consider air conditioned offices as a cost efficient benefit. The business provided general sheet metal services associated with much of the other early downtown construction. The East Archer location was actually an old hotel purchased by Pappy. The first floor was converted to shop and offices for the business and the second floor was rented to boarders by Pappy for a number of years.
Until this year, the business had changed ownership only once in 75 years. Kendall Ray Ashmore, an employee of the company since 1973, purchased the business from Reeves and McBride in January 1985. Ashmore began to refocus the company’s primary business thrust to kitchen installations and specialty custom sheet metal products. Recognizing that the time was right to bring additional ownership into the company to carry on the successful tradition that the company has enjoyed for so many years, Ashmore sold a major share of the company’s assets February 28th of this year to new investors in a newly formed Empire Sheet Metal, L.L.C. Ashmore has retained an ownership and management position in the new entity. Steve Etter, a major owner in the new L.L.C., has also become a member of the management team and will function as General Manager. The plan is for Ashmore to assist with a lengthy transition and to help the new investors with plans to add state of the art equipment in new facilities for expansion of the present business and the addition of new product lines with time.
A ground-breaking ceremony is planned for September 5th. The new facilities are planned for completion by early 2007.