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STRONGER THAN EVER: O. F. Richter & Sons Inc.
Four generations of successfully family-owned and operated Cullman business tradition resides inside of O. F. Richter & Sons, Inc. Located at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 1st Street SE, the operation is just across the street from the Board of Education building.
The vast murals adorning the building’s exterior make this structure an unforgettable landmark in downtown Cullman.
Cullman’s original – and still premier – interior and exterior decor store is going strong after 71 years.
Founded in 1947 in the aftermath of World War II, O. F. Richter & Sons Inc. provides customers – both residential and commercial – the most modern construction and renovation choices available in the forms of:
• Paint (indoor, outdoors, specialty)
• Flooring (Carpet, Wood, Laminate, Ceramic Tile, Luxury vinyl tile and planks, Vinyl floorcovering)
• Wallpaper (yes, it is making a comeback!)
• Area Rugs (Sized and Custom)
• Framing (Of Most Anything You Can Imagine)
• Tools, Supplies, and Support Products
The origin of the store is fascinating.
O. F. Richter was a painter back in the 1940’s. Four of his five sons were called up by United States military to defeat Hitler and his Axis alliances in World War II.
At the end of the War, the four young men returned to Cullman. The post-war employment picture in the area was not good, and these proud soldiers struggled to find work/income to support themselves.
The senior Richter decided to rectify their employment problem, personally.
He opened O. F. Richter & Sons Inc. in 1947 to provide his offspring with income and employment security. Daughter Evelyn joined the operation soon after that as well as a cousin worked painting until his retirement at an advanced age.
The firm quickly grew to a dominant position in the Cullman County paint and flooring scene combing both store products with expert installations.
O. F. Richter is now called ‘Grandpa’ by his many grandchildren and his descendants.
Grandpa first built a store on 2nd Avenue that was well-known and beloved by the community in the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
The current building on 1st street was purchased and remodeled to suit the company’s needs in 1972 by the brothers.
Grandpa came to work at the store every day until his passing at age 89 in 1979.
With four generations of family members employed at the store since 1947, store manager Maria Schultz thinks a fifth generation will join the staff in the not too distant future, “I’d love to see that,” she says.
Maria started working in the afternoons while attending St. Bernard’s College. She remained a core staffer since the 1970’s.
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The current employment roster at O. F. Richter & Sons Inc. is full of highly skilled and very experienced talent:
• Tim Richter
• Johnny Richter
• Maria Schultz
• Ed Richter
• Ted Richter
• Ellen Richter Fulmer
• Helen Richter Kent
• Nathan Richter
• Brandi Richter Phillips
These Richter stalwarts’ roles changed over time. However, as a group, they represent 250 years of combined painting and renovation experience.
As an example of their career trajectory, Tim started as a painter in Cullman after the Vietnam War and while attending Auburn University worked at the Anniston store doing the contracting painting. Now, he is the President.
Among the many colorful characters employed at O. F. Richter & Sons, Inc. the aforementioned Ellen and Helen. These two are fraternal twins who have worked side-by-side since high school in the Framing Department.
This first video provides a close-up perspective on ‘How Things Are Done‘ in the Framing Department:
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In this second video, we hear from Maria as well as Ellen and Helen. They take you through the entire of art and memorabilia framing with a simultaneous history lesson on the O. F. Richter & Sons, Inc. world-class Framing Department:
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O. F. Richter & Sons, Inc.
308 1st Street SE, Cullman, AL, 35055
HOURS OF OPERATION
Monday thru Friday: 7 am to 5 pm
Saturday: 7 am to 12 noon
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STRONGER THAN EVER: O. F. Richter & Sons Inc.
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