Holmquistsign – Our Story
In 1896, Harry Oscar Holmquist was born in Stockholm. 41 years later he founded what was to evolve into Holmquistsign. But let’s start at the beginning…
Harry and Henny
Harry lived with his wife Henny in a little apartment in Enskede, a suburb of Stockholm. In this small home, they raised their children. Harry supported the family by working for Osram as a travelling salesman. Harry, Henny and their children lived a good and comfortable life.
Harry was active within the boy scout movement in Sweden. Life was good and stable. But all of this was soon to change and the Holmquist family would have to face challenges that would change their routines.
After a long period of feeling tired and also losing a lot of weight, Harry got the diagnosis of diabetes. In the early 1900, this was a serious illness that demanded frequent visits to the doctor’s office for insulin treatments.
The situation was such that Harry no longer could work as a travelling salesman. It was time for a new chapter of the Holmquist family life.
Holmquist Metal Crafts House Studio
Harry started to look into alternative ways for an income. He created a working station in the family’s apartment and started to craft letters for prices and awards for scouts. Word travelled of his skill as a metal craftsman and soon Harry was sought out for his talent.
As the orders came in, the apartment could no longer house his business so he had to rent a basement room in the same building as the family home. The new business was called Holmquist Metallhantverk (Swedish for Holmquist Metal Crafts).
Henny worked at the state phone company but she also helped Harry with the bookkeeping and the children Bertil and Alf where also busy in the newly established family business.
Business was going well and soon they needed a bigger workshop. In 1957, Holmquist Metallhantverk moved into bigger industrial premises at the corner of Sockenvägen by Mellanvägen in Enskede.
Stig and Lars were the first employees. They weren’t family but they surely became like one. Stig and Lars worked at the business from their late teens until retirement!
Holmquist Metall & Gravyr AB – Engravings are added to the repertoire
Harry’s diabetes did not improve and to the great agony of the family he passed away in 1959. That year, Henny took on the business together with the sons Bertil and Alf and they renamed it Holmquist Metall & Gravyr AB.
The word gravyr in Swedish means engraving. During the 1960s, the business engraved signs for big companies like Siemens and Alfa Laval. The also created schedules with symbols and signs for sewage treatment plants and industrial locations in need of clear signs for working processes and production lines. They also engraved scales for handles and ships.
The old workshop in Enskede
By 1967, the business had outgrown the basement location and they moved into newly built premises, 200 m2, at Årsta Skolgränd 18. At that time, this area housed several companies working within the metal and carpeting industries. Holmquistsign is still working with some of these companies!
During the 1980s in Årsta, the third generation Holmquist joined the business, among these Alf’s sons Ulf and Björn. Jan, who is the oldest son of Bertil and the current CEO of the company, joined in 1983. He got the role of CEO in 1987.
In the 1990s, Jan’s younger siblings, Dan and Eva, started working at the company. Dan is still in charge of sales.
In 1986, Holmquistsign started to automate the production with the first CNC engraving machine from Lang. They brought in more machines and also hired more people as well as the turnover.
As the company grew the premises had to expand. This was also when the company went into new areas such as elevator and hotel signs as well as company logos on signs.
1993 is an important milestone in the history of the company. That was when Scandic Hotels became a client. Scandic has since become one of Holmquistsign’s biggest returning clients. Holmquist makes all of the hotel’s signs for their locations all over Europe. This is a great pride!
2012 – Holmquistsign AB
After a shorter interval at the bigger premises on Årsta Skolgränd 8, it was time to move again. The year was 2004 and the new place, situated on Rotemannavägen in Alby, Botkyrka, was 1250 m2 big. In 2012, the company name was changed to Holmquist AB. We have kept the name and are still at Rotemannavägen.
2020 was the year we said farewell to Harry’s son and former owner Bertil Oscar Holmquist. He passed away at the age of 93.
During the 2010s the fourth generation Holmquist got involved in the business, namely Sebastian, Josefine and Emilia. Sebastian and Emilia are still part of our crew.
Today, we produce our own products at Holmquistsign using Cad and graphical design tools and automated production. We are certified for management systems ISO90001 and 140001.
The legacy of Harry is with us since the beginning of Holmquistsign in 1937. Just like Harry Holmquist, we will never tamper with the quality of our products and working processes. Proper material knowledge and service to the client are still a red thread through the Holmquist way of making signs. This is something that has led to great success during the years. Holmquistsign is a thriving company with big returning clients.
Holmquistsign has 85 years of experience and is one of the oldest Swedish sign-making companies still active. We have about 30 employees and we work with modern machines. Our production is carried out with the latest engraving, milling, turning, laser and polishing machines.
We work with modern methods for finish and printing and have a stock of plates from aluminum, brass, copper, bronze, stainless steel, hot rolled steel, acrylic, glass, plastic, MDF and wood.
We are incredibly proud of our company history and our solid experience, personal involvement our own production in Stockholm and our great material and technique knowledge. We handle the entire process without any third parties. We take care of the design, drawing, production, delivery and assembly. Today we also offer our own design, technical solutions and we cooperate with acknowledged architects and designers.
The story of the family business Holmquistsign is still being written…