Bob McDougal Sewing Machine Co. was established in August, 1940 by Bob McDougal. Bob was a 35 year old man discontent with the business ethics of his employer, the Singer Company, where he had been a successful store manager for about 2 years. Deciding to leave Singer to form his own sewing machine business, Bob began operations from his garage.
Quickly outgrowing those facilities, by 1944 he had saved enough money to pay cash for two home sites at the corner of 13th and Yale street in the elite Heights area of Houston where we continue to operate today. During the next couple of years, Bob built additions to the sides, the front and the rear of the two homes until he had over 6,000 square feet of facilities including a sales floor, a service center, office space, classrooms and a warehouse.
During the 1940’s and 1950’s, he had developed one of the largest, strongest and most respected independent dealerships in America. Bob McDougal’s quickly became one of the largest New Home and Necchi dealerships in America. He also had his own brand of sewing machine, the Bob McDougal 66-class head, imported direct from Japan to help support his enormous rental business which consisted of over 3,000 units. To support this tremendous success he had as many as 25 full-time employees including a general manager, eight salespeople, six service technicians, and a full staff of teachers and office personnel.
Upon his untimely death in November, 1965, at the age of 60, his wife, Evalyn took control of the business. Although she had been actively involved in the business in the early years, she was somewhat overwhelmed with the enormous task of operating a thriving multi-line dealership. Turning to her brother to help manage the business, the business lacked the direction, vision and driving force which Bob McDougal had given for 25 years. The next few years were still quite healthy though; as a strong foundation, a growing customer base and a great respect for honesty and quality had been established.
Since Bob and Evalyn only had one daughter, Joyce, who married Leslie Welch, a Southern Baptist minister, the line of business succession and leadership management skipped a generation. In the 1970’s, two of Bob’s grandsons, Doug and Dan Welch, joined the business. Doug, the oldest grandson, joined the company in August, 1972 and purchased the business in 1996. Dan, the youngest grandson, joined the company in the late 1970’s, however left the business in the mid 1990’s to pursue business interests of his own.
During the mid-1980’s and into the early 1990’s, with the vision and the leadership of Doug, Bob McDougal’s continued to be one of the largest and most respected single-location sewing machine dealerships in America. Even with the trends in the metropolitan markets demanding the convenience of multi-location dealerships, McDougal’s continued to be one of the highest volume Elna and Viking/White dealers under one roof. Today we are still among one of the largest single-location dealers excelling in the sales and service of theBrother PaceSetter and Elna lines of sewing machines, sergers and presses.
Bob McDougal Sewing Machine Co., Inc., is excited about the changes that have transformed the industry and is looking forward to the possibilities of what the future might bring. Although our facilities have some of the “original” touches, one should have no doubt that we are a thriving, high-tech dealer that continues to offer the best products available through personal and honest dealings.