HERITAGE
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HERITAGE
Instruments currently built in Kalamazoo, MI since 1984. The company was incorporated on April 1, 1985. The Lasar Music Corporation, located in Brentwood, TN is the exclusive sales and marketing company for Heritage Guitars, Inc.
The Gibson guitar company was founded in Kalamazoo in 1902. The young company continued to expand, and built production facilities at 225 Parsons Street (the first of a total of five buildings at that location) in 1917. In 1974, Gibson was acquired by the Norlin corporation, which also opened facilities the same year in Nashville, TN. However, financial troubles led Norlin to consider shutting down either the Kalamazoo or Nashville facilities in the early 1980s. Even though the Kalamazoo plant was Gibson's home since 1917, the decision was made in July of 1983 by Norlin to close the plant. The doors at 225 Parsons Street closed in the fall of 1984.
Heritage Guitar, Inc. opened in 1985 in the original Gibson building. Rather than uproot and move to Tennessee, Jim Deurloo, Marvin Lamb, and J.P. Moats elected to leave the Gibson company, and stay in Kalamazoo to start a new guitar company. Members of the original trio were later joined by Bill Paige and Mike Korpak (other long time Gibson workers). Korpack left the Heritage company in 1985.
Jim Deurloo began working at Gibson in 1958, and through his career was promoted from neck sander to pattern maker up to general foreman of the pattern shop, machine shop, and maintenance. Deurloo was the plant manager at Guild between 1969 to 1974, and had been involved with the opening and tooling up of the newer Nashville facility in 1974. During this time period, Deurloo was also the head of engineering, and was later promoted to assistant plant manager. In 1978 Deurloo was named plant manager at the Kalamazoo facility.
Marv Lamb was hired by Gibson in 1956 to do hand sanding and other jobs in the wood shop (Lamb was one of the workers on the '58 Korina Flying V and Explorer guitars). He was promoted through a series of positions to general foreman of finishing and final assembly, and finally to plant superintendent in 1974 (a position he held until Gibson closed the plant in 1984).
J.P. Moats was hired by Gibson in 1957 for sanding and final cleaning. Through promotions, Moats became head of quality control as well as the supervisor of inspectors, and later the wood inspector. While inspecting wood for Gibson, Moats was also in charge of repairs and custom orders.
Bill Paige, a graduate of the business school at Western Michigan University joined Gibson in 1975 as a cost accountant and other capacities in the accounting department.
Heritage operated under the ownership of Deurloo, Lamb, Moats, and Page until mid-2007. During the summer of 2007, Heritage halted all guitar production while the owners looked for a new owner of Heritage. Local attorney Vince Margol bought out Bill Paige's share of Heritage and became an equal partner with Deurloo, Lamb, and Moats. Margol also became the president and managing partner of Heritage while Paige accepted a position within the organization.
For more information, visit Heritage's website or contact them directly. Additional source: Kalamazoo Gazette.

From Blue Book Publications:


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