Grellco's history revealed
Having had great success with salmon labels, printers promoted the use of fruit box labels to companies like Grell with ads such as this in fruit grower and packer publications.
One of the fascinating things about history is that new information continually surfaces to challenge long-held assumptions or interpretations. This is precisely what happened after the publication of the Grellco label story in the September 2006 Good Fruit Grower. The great-granddaughter of company founder Edward Franz Grell and Grell family historian, Barbara Keter, was generous in sharing her research and correcting information we had previously gathered in 1992 from Mrs. Linda Peterson, another family member.
In the original article, we stated that E.F. Grell and his brother founded the Seattle-based firm of E.F. Grell. Edward Franz Grell did, indeed, have a brother—in fact, two of them, but one died in early childhood and the other stayed in Germany and became a Lutheran minister with a church in Hamburg. Their father was a German industrialist, the owner of two shipping lines based in Hamburg, Germany, and in business with the Schick Corporation (most well-known for their razors).
E.F. Grell emigrated to the United States through Staten Island, New York, as part of the family business relationship with the Schick Company. Grell, his wife, and their two sons moved first to San Mateo, California, and later the family settled in Seattle.
E.F. Grell, in partnership with a number of other Seattle businessmen, founded the Grellco Corporation in 1926. The original article was correct in that the company did import, from Germany, printers' ink, printing presses, press parts, and lithographic printing stones; but the company did much more than export just apples. Salmon and pears from both Oregon and Washington were exported as well, and the company used not only the Grellco brand name but also the Blue Goose, Du Comice, and Skookum brands. Blue Goose and Skookum, of course, were also used by other growers and wholesalers as they were developed to serve marketing cooperatives. All of these Grell labels are quite rare, especially the salmon and pear ones.
Grell also was one of the founders of the Northwest Seed Company, which remains in business today under the name of the Northrup & King Company. After Grell retired from business in 1940, he moved to Portland, Oregon, and became a well-respected coach for Olympic-class ice skaters.
We are delighted to have this additional and corrected information. Thank you, Barbara!