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Shelving Inc. celebrates 55 years
Eileen Schmidt
Eileen Schmidt

When Mike Schodowski sees a disorganized office or business, he often feels the urge to make the space more organized and space efficient. "It eats you in the stomach because you know you can really help them," said Schodowski, who as vice president of sales for Shelving, Inc., knows how to make space work harder.

Now in its 55th year, Shelving, Inc. provides shelving and racking products to make the best use of the available space. Shelving, Inc. offers design services and complete turnkey installation for both large and small businesses. Since 2007 the company has expanded into the residential market as well.

The business, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., remains in the Detroit area of its inception and in its over half century in operation has expanded both its bricks and mortar operation and two online stores.

Jack Schodowski, Mike's father, founded the business in 1960. The new venture followed his career as a mathematics instructor at Wayne State University, his work as an industrial engineer with Square D Company and a job as a regional sales representative for Interlake Steel of Chicago. Jack Schodowski's move from academia to industry to entrepreneur was driven in part by the desire to control his own destiny, according to his son, Mike Schodowski.

"You get paid what you're really truly worth. And he would help employ people" providing good salaries, Mike Schodowski said. "That was also a high motivation."

Shelving, Inc. was established on Riopelle Drive in East Detroit's warehouse district. Jack Schodowski began by selling slotted angle materials by day and building his own custom shelves at night.

From there, the business grew into a warehouse on Grand River Ave., and later, a larger facility on West Chicago Blvd. The company continued growing, moving to its current location in Auburn Hills in 1979, and adding more corporate office space in 1994, according to a company history.

The business developed an online presence for generating sales leads in 1997, and after e-commerce orders began to grow, created a website solely for e-commerce in 2007.

"The retail (side of the business) is branching out more into e-commerce," said Mike Schodowski, who said Shelving, Inc.'s business-to-business market is currently larger than the online side of the operation, although the latter is growing at a quick clip.

Schodowski said he envisions this technological expansion continuing during Shelving, Inc.'s next 55 years, both for the company and its customers. "The rate of change is so fast, you really have to be able to respond and change to market conditions faster now than even five years ago," he said.

Although the recent recession proved difficult, Schodowski said Shelving, Inc. made it through with "a lot of good teamwork." "We did not lay off any employees during that period. We didn't reduce employee base or cut their pay," he said.

Today, there are 23 company team members and Schodowski anticipates one or two more will be hired by the end of the year. He senses the current economic climate will continue to improve.

Since 2000, Shelving, Inc. has been profitable every year except one, despite the recession, according to the company's history. It posted record sales in 2013.

Shelving, Inc. donates 10% of its profits to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit, MI.
“Both Shelving, Inc. and the Schodowski family began their lives in Detroit and we want to give back to the community from which our roots started.” Mike Schodowski said.

Eileen Schmidt is a freelance writer and journalist based in the Greater Milwaukee area. She has written for print and online publications for the past 12 years. Email editorial@mhwmag.com or visit eileenmozinskischmidt.wordpress.com to contact Eileen. 
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