FIVE GENERATIONS OF AWNING EXPERIENCE
It’s been said, history repeats itself and in this case it’s a fact. Five generations is a lot of history and a lot of awning experience, which translates into a lot of happy customers!
The history of Sommer Awning and Thorp Awning is a lofty one, much higher than your average awning overhead. It involves adventure, innovation and entrepreneurialism, which are all still characteristics of the company today.
It started back in 1923, when great grandfather Harry Thorp, who was working for Indianapolis Tent and Awning had an opportunity to bid a job for the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. He won the contract to install an awning over every window in the hotel, quite an undertaking for a 50-year old entrepreneur! That didn’t stop Harry though – he manufactured all the awnings in Indianapolis, put them on a train and then went down and supervised installation. Thorp Awnings was born and he set up shop in the 2100 block of College Avenue.
Shortly thereafter, Harry’s only child, Avenel, married Fran Sommer, who went to work in the growing business, which continued to prosper. The next generation of Sommers included their son Bill, who at age 21, fresh out of the Air Force, went to work in sales.
Fast forward to today and after many sales and awning installations, Steve Sommer joined the company and worked in scheduling and installation while he went to school, vowing “never to work for the family business full time”. Things have a funny way of changing, though. In a few years, Steve came into the firm full time as a sales person and over the next 30 years has led Awning Partners through years of continued growth and expansion. Steve’s boys are now carrying on the family tradition. We love happy endings!