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Elmira’s connection to antique appliances dates back three generations. Founder Tom Hendrick’s father supplied woodburning cookstove parts to local Mennonites from his hardware store in Elmira, Ontario. In 1975, Tom saw an opportunity to supply not just parts, but complete cookstoves, to the local market and, potentially, all of North America. He acquired the rights for the Findlay Oval cookstove, and began manufacturing in what had been a chicken barn on the outskirts of the small town of Elmira. The popularity of the stoves grew, and consumers soon began to ask for similar styling in gas and electric models. Hendrick responded, and the product line expanded to include a full line of gas and electric ranges with traditional styling and some of the modern features the company offers today. Fireplace shops, appliance stores and emporiums across the continent became an enthusiastic dealer network for Elmira’s growing line of products.
The nineties saw Elmira expand its “Antique” line, with the addition of refrigerators, wall ovens, microwaves and dishwasher panels; all offered in rich, traditional colors (Black, Bisque, White, Cayenne Pepper Red and liberty Blue) and the same vintage-styling. As the product line grew, so did the company’s customer base, purchasing the vintage-styled appliances for Victorian homes, cottages, log homes, or simply accent pieces in more contemporary kitchens. On a family note, Tom’s son Brian joined the company as Vice-President in 1995.
In 2001, Elmira took a sixty-year leap forward, adding 1950′s-styled fridges to its 1890′s-styled appliances. The fresh colors – Candy Red, Robin’s Egg Blue, Buttercup Yellow, Flamingo Pink, Mint Green; along with more subtle Black, Bisque and White – smooth curved lines and bright chrome accents, were an immediate hit. Drawn by the trend to reminiscent styling, a younger group of consumers quickly adopted Elmira’s Northstar line as its own answer to throwback “antique” styling. Over the next twelve years, the Northstar line expanded to include refrigerators, keg fridges, ranges, range hoods, splashbacks, microwaves and dishwasher panels – an impressive offering of fourteen models in total!