Schroeder Dental Laboratory in Northbrook, Illinois, is celebrating its 100th year in business. The family-owned laboratory, currently operated by Jim and Janet Schroeder, was started in 1919 by Jim’s grandfather, Arthur J. Schroeder.
Family legend has it that Arthur was on a train headed for basic training when World War I ended in November 1918. Without a job or military service requirement, Arthur decided to go into business for himself. He had worked for various laboratories for the past six years and always dreamed he would someday own one of the best labs in the nation. Now seemed as good a time as any. Arthur opened his lab in Chicago, operating from a small rented room.
After surviving the market crash in 1929, Arthur focused on growing his lab and starting a family. Eventually all three of his sons joined him in the business. Throughout the years, the lab changed locations but always remained on the north side of Chicago. In 1979, the lab relocated to Northbrook, where it remains today. Over the years, many family members have played a role in the business, including Arthur’s wife and sister, his sons, and later their wives and children. Even some aunts, uncles, and nephews helped out along the way. This was truly a family business.
Over the course of the past century, dental laboratory work changed dramatically. In the early days, the laboratory focused primarily on removable prosthetics; today the lab specializes in fixed restorations. The biggest driver of change has been the advent of computers. “In the old days, everything was done by hand,” says Jim. “Today the entire workflow is influenced by computers. What used to be done in a week, can now be done in a matter of hours. Technology combined with old world craftsmanship and superior customer service is the key to our success.”
The future looks bright for the next century at Schroeder Dental Laboratory. Jim and Janet’s nephew works at the company as Director of Digital Technologies, so the family legacy will continue. Schroeder Dental Lab has celebrations planned throughout the year to mark their centennial, including an open house in the fall where anyone can come and tour the lab.
For more information on Schroeder Dental Laboratory, contact Jim or Janet at 847-480-0380 or firstname.lastname@example.org.