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History
Thorndike Mills   
Est. 1925

 

From Humble Beginnings   
   Facing Deep Despair    
      To the Triumphant American Dream    
          A family business is born

Gabriel M. Garabedian, better known to family, friends, and colleagues as “Gary”, fled his homeland of Eastern Turkey, formerly Ancient Armenia, at the young age of 15, during as what has become known as the first Genocide of the twentieth century.  Loosing most his family, having only little money, he was faced with choices that a 15 year old should never have to decide.  He journeyed as a refugee for over three years, to eventually make his way to America, by way of Ellis Island.

 

 

 

 

He began his new life, on March 15, 1921

Many Armenian Refugees settled in the Greater Boston Area, so he migrated there as well.  Unable to speak English, he enrolled in night school and worked a variety of day jobs to survive, and had begun the process of pursuing the dream to work for himself one day.

Within four years, he was ready, and did start his own weaving business in 1925, making “rag rugs” in a rented Boston basement for local distribution.

Instilled with a strong work ethic he had the heart and endurance of a modern day entrepreneur, but was faced with unrelenting “roadblocks to success” that would make it challenging to even those who had ample funding and resources.  He was on his way, until the Great Depression hit, which forced him and many others to cease operation.

Rather than default on his creditors, he again, worked wherever he could to pay off his debts and save for another opportunity to restart his dream.

 

The Founding of the
G.M. Garabedian Company

In 1933, Gary then decided to move west of Boston, to a small, quaint New England town, where he restarted his business as G.M.Garabedian & Co, in Thorndike, Mass.  With his debts paid and with a small savings account, he began making Rag Rugs on Handlooms and his business began to take hold.

Because of his perseverance to succeed, he was able to establish a small, but loyal dealer base that gave him the confidence to go forward.

As his business strengthened, he also had the vision to have a family, so in 1935, he married Mary Babaian, a native of the Boston area, and together they not only raised a family, but worked as dedicated partners in the growth of the business.  ( insert picture of  Gary/Mary)

They were blessed with four children, Mitchell “Mitch”, Margaret “Peggy”, Edward “Ed” and Anna, “AB”. Together, they worked long hard days to build their business, raise their growing family, and maintain the balance of both.

 

   

Establishing Thorndike Mills
As the business continued to grow, and the G.M Garabedian Company was receiving attention from National Department Stores for it’s Handloomed Rag Rugs, Gary decided to convert to power looms, which would then allow him to increase his production capabilities.  It was time to officially change the company name, to what the business had become to be known as …..
Thorndike Mills.  So fitting, because it was after all, this community that had turned his vision into a reality.

 

As World War II, came to an end, and the economy focused on Peace Time Consumer Goods, not only were Regional Department Stores becoming steady customers, but a well known National Chain, JCPenny commanded 60% of his production capabilities within two years time.

 

1957 was the year that the most dramatic change was to take place in the life of both Gary and Mary.  They took an enormous gamble, and with all their savings, built a new manufacturing facility. It was not to be an easy task but together again, they made the commitment, and the new facility was completed and occupied in 1959.  

 

2nd Generation
Mitchell, the oldest of their children, followed by Eddie, and then Anna all have followed into the footsteps of their parents.   Mitchell, now president, joined the company in 1958, followed by Eddie, now Vice President, in 1959.  Anna, the youngest, joined in 1970, as an office clerk, and evolved into now as Office Manager.

Mitch, Ed, and Anna have made many contributions to the business over the years, but one of their most significant, was the acquisition of EJ Martin Company in 1988, a very dominate distributor of braided rugs made in Japan.  As a result of the purchase of EJ Martin, the Martin Importing Company was born

 

 

 
   

The Formation of
TMI Industries

Now with an importing division, in addition to their domestic manufacturing……the two companies were now under the new parent company, of TMI INDUSTRIES, INC.  Initially, Martin importing continued obtaining braided rugs from Japan, but eventually discontinued production in Japan and began manufacturing an improved version of the same product here in the USA.    Martin Importing continues to function as a division to import 100% wool hand hooked rugs from China.

In the early 90’s, third generation members, Karen and Janice continue to fulfill the legacy of their grandparents, offering new ideas to keep up with styles and trends of today.  Their pride continues with the same respect for quality that Thorndike has been known for all these years.

A note from the Garabedian family

“Our Father's and Grandfather's life truly captured the essence of attaining the 'American Dream,' and we work hard to preserve his values.  With every rug that leaves our factory, we take pride that it represents the vision he saw for himself when he came here at such a young age.  We look forward to making a rug for your home that captures his story of dedication to hard work and perseverance.”

 

 

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