Founder Story: Prince
Edgar Prince was 33 years old when he founded the company that bore his name in December 1965 in Holland, Michigan.
A talented engineer and veteran of the machine-tool industry, he wanted to start a company that would produce quality products; give employees a sense of ownership; and help the local community through charitable contributions.
At first the company was involved in the sale and repair of die-cast machinery. But, as business slowed down in the early 1970s, Prince charged his employees to come up with alternative product lines. When employee Kon Marcus came up with the idea for a lighted vanity mirror for automobile visors, Prince gave him full freedom to develop the product.
This freedom helped engender a “can do” attitude among employees at the company that helped it retain and hire creative workers. The lighted vanity mirror was eventually sold to General Motors, which incorporated it into their 1972 Cadillac models. This turned out to be a springboard to the company’s long-term success as a manufacturer of innovative automotive technologies.
Prince’s devout Christian faith was reflected in the company he started in a number of ways. Employees were forbidden to work on Sundays, for example. The company would also provide free air travel for employees on the road to allow them more time to spend with their families.
Creating a family atmosphere at the company was important to Prince, as evidenced in generous compensation and benefits for company employees as well as a corporate culture that emphasized team work and cooperation.