Sixty-two years ago, Axel Englund opened Englund Marine Supply Co. with three employees. At the grand opening of the new Englund Marine & Industrial Supply store at the Port of Astoria Friday, his son Jon Englund said there are now 90 employees in seven locations.
The company has grown as a family business through the dedication of three generations of Englunds. Jon Englund's sons, Kurt and Jay, are active in the everyday business.
The grand opening drew hundreds of people who had nothing but praise for the hard-working family. Marine representative Tim Fagan from Camano Island, Wash., who supplied the store for years said, "I wouldn't miss this for anything."
Tom Harger said he worked with Axel Englund and met Jon "when he was a nice young boy. And now it's Kurt and Jay. I can't believe the company has gone from a little bitty store to - this," waving his hand at the expansive 44,000 square feet of space.
The Port of Astoria and city worked hand-in-hand, Jon Englund said, to bring the new store to this location in a timely manner.
Jon Englund introduced his 94-year old mother, Freda Englund, his sister, Suzanne Fleck from Coquille, and his mother-in-law, Betty Miller.
Right before the rope-cutting, Jon said his mother had a surprise for everyone, a kind of family tradition. Fleck reached in her purse and pulled out a harmonica. Freda Englund played a rousing rendition of "You Are My Sunshine." A couple of voices joined the harmonica and soon the entire crowd was singing.
Freda Englund said, "I hope you all keep coming, because we need you. I was there opening day on 15th Street. My husband, Axel, always had his finger pointed, saying 'I know I can do it.'"
When Jon Englund helped his mother cut the rope, she said, "It has been 62 years. This is for my darling husband Axel and all of you people."
And then they cut the cake.