Bill lead the company from designing test equipment such as signal tracers
to pioneering high-fidelity with consumer audio equipment. By the
1950's Grommes was not only known for its high-end tube amplifiers,
preamplifiers, and tuners, but also for its Little Genie amplifier kits
which gave many future audio engineers their start.
the 1950's and 1960's the company earned many awards (e.g. Pioneer of High
Fidelity, Paris Fair, Growth in Export), was featured in many trade and
general interest magazines (e.g. Playboy, Life, Esquire), and continued to
garnish praises from its most important critics: its customers.
The company grew, and soon, to maintain the
overall demand for its high-fidelity audio products, moved to a bigger
factory outside of Chicago in Franklin Park. Over the next two decades,
Grommes~Precision continued to grow, expanding its facilities twice and
tripling its manufacturing capabilities.
By the 1970's, overseas competition invaded the
consumer electronic market. Most of Bill's friends and colleagues by that
time had decided to sell their names to the foreign competition. Bill, however, was reluctant to sell the company.
Bill decided to
stay by the company he had started and the employees he had come to know
as family. He discovered that overseas competition
lacked the quality and durability to meet and exceed commercial paging
demands and lead the company, under the name Precision
Electronics, into that market.
He continued to be active in the company daily
until he went into semi-retirement in 1987. However, he would oftentimes
come in to the office to assist in matters and spend time with Al and
other employees. He believed Grommes~Precision
had evolved into something much more than just a business--it had evolved
into a community of friends and family. Indeed, the loyalty of many of its
key personnel stemmed from this feeling. As late as 1996, four of the
first five people who started with the company at its creation were still
working with the company or remained with the company until retirement.
Bill was especially pleased to see the third generation take the helm
starting in the 1990's.
On June 26, 2001, Bill's wife, co-owner, and
fellow employee, Esther passed away. Five months later, on November 24,
2001, at the age of 89, William "Bill" Grommes joined his late