Highland News Leader

Voegele Studio, Quality Paint Co. started in Highland in the 1920s

The new B&B Quality Paint after a fire.
The new B&B Quality Paint after a fire.

Voegele Studio at 1010 Laurel St. was originally Christian Maechtlen’s Old Reliable Studio. In 1912, the studio was sold to Henry J. Jost and then to Victor Munie. The studio was purchased from Victor Munie in the mid-1920s by the late Alfred Voegele, the father of Joan Voegele Leopold and Mike Voegele.

Alfred built a new building, and he owned and operated the new studio for many years. He took in a partner, Orville Heim, a World War II B-24 Bomber pilot. They used the name “Heim-Voegele Studio” for a few years.

Heim was called up again in the Korean War. When he returned from duty as a flight instructor, he started working with the federal government in St. Louis. (Thanks to his son, Kevin Heim, for the information.)

Heim sold his interest back to Alfred Voegele, and it became Voegele Studio, again, until Alfred’s retirement in 1957. It then became “Laurel Studio” by Dale Williams.

In 1968, Voegele’s only son, Michael, reopened the Voegele Studio. Michael specialized in portraits, weddings and commercial work. Mike was Highland’s only certified professional photographer and located in his new building at 1012 Laurel. Mike’s son, Shaun, eventually joined Voegele Studio, and since Mike’s retirement, Shaun is now the owner. (Sesquicentennial book and my files.)

Quality Paint Co. of Highland was founded in 1928 on Main Street by Fred A. Bircher, who had been a Highland painter and decorator since 1904. In the 1920s, Bircher began manufacturing his own paints in huge cylinder drums on his own premises. Bircher then founded “Quality Paint” to offer quality products, professional experience and friendly service to Highland and the area. His son, Bernell, in 1932, began working in the family firm and carried on the tradition.

In 1948, Bernell’s cousin, Erwin “Spitz” Bellm joined the firm, and in 1949, they changed the name to B&B Quality Paint Co. and built a new building at 908 Laurel. This building burned in 1962, and they rebuilt at the same location and made a bigger showroom. They added wall paper, floor coverings and glass to their paint lines. When, Spitz Bellm died, the paint store was returned to the Bircher family ownership.

Bernell and his son, John, were had been serving the needs of the Highland community for over 60 years when the Sesquicentennial book was published. The store was later closed and the building was sold to HIS KIDS, a charity benefiting children with cancer. However, the building is now for sale again. (Thanks to Fred and Cheri Bircher for additional information, from that found on page 52 of Sesquicentennial book and my files.)

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