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Saturday, May 30 2015 19:38

Aircraft Spruce Celebrates 50 Years

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June 2015-

1965
Flo Irwin starts a new business in the basement of family home in Fullerton, Calif. selling just one product: spruce lumber for aircraft builders. She takes orders by mail and phone, and hires one man to cut the spruce. A one-page flyer is the first Aircraft Spruce “catalog.”

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1967-1969
Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. occupies a small building on Amerige Ave. in downtown Fullerton. Flo begins to carry other aircraft-related products and expands the catalog by a few pages every year.

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1970-73
Aircraft Spruce moves to larger building at 128 W. Wilshire Ave. in Fullerton and now carries steel and aluminum tubing and sheets, hardware and an expanding range of products for homebuilders. Flo’s husband Bob Irwin leaves the aerospace industry to join Aircraft Spruce, and their son Jim Irwin starts as a parts packer and wood cutter during high school.

Aircraft Spruce

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1973
Aircraft Spruce moves to a 1920s-era citrus packing warehouse at 201 W. Truslow Ave. in Fullerton. The building provides 27,000 square feet and allows for a much larger product line. It will be the company’s home for the next 24 years.

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1975
Burt Rutan meets with Flo and Bob Irwin and asks them to buy large quantities of new materials such as epoxies, fiberglass and foams and to be a distributor for his new Vari-Eze design. They agree to the arrangement, and the experimental aircraft market takes a big leap forward.

1975-1983
Aircraft Spruce ships hundreds of Vari-Eze, Long-EZ and Quickie/Q2 kits to customers worldwide as the composite aircraft movement explodes.

1980
Jim and Nanci Irwin assume leadership of Aircraft Spruce.

1982
Aircraft Spruce becomes a major sponsor of Burt Rutan’s Voyager, culminating in the flight around the world in December 1986.

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1983
Flo and Bob Irwin along with their son John Irwin move to Lake Havasu City, Ariz. and start a new manufacturing company, ACS Products Co. ACS Products is a fully automated CNC machine shop that manufactures aircraft parts such as ignition switches, control cables, axles, oil separators and spinners. The company, now operated by John and Frances Irwin, remains a key supplier to Aircraft Spruce today.

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1993
Aircraft Spruce Avionics opens at the Fullerton airport. It allows Aircraft Spruce to become a leading distributor for General Aviation avionics equipment.

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1995
The avionics store moves to the Chino Airport (KCNO).

1996
Aircraft Spruce acquires Alexander Aeroplane in Griffin, Ga. and changes the name to Aircraft Spruce East. The 25,000 square foot facility allows for faster and more economical shipment of orders to Aircraft Spruce customers in the eastern United States.

1997
Aircraft Spruce West moves from the packing house in Fullerton to a new 60,000 square foot facility in Corona, Calif. This provides ample warehouse space for the company’s ongoing product line expansion, state-of-the-art office space and a much larger retail store.

2004
Aircraft Spruce East moves to a new 60,000 square foot facility in Peachtree City, Ga. in order to handle the tremendous growth the company is experiencing. Thousands of orders are now shipping from the California and Georgia facilities each week.

2004-2009
Jim and Nanci Irwin’s sons, Mike, Jeff and Rob, join Aircraft Spruce following college. They quickly become key members of the management team.

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2006
Aircraft Spruce Canada opens in Mississauga, Ontario and is the first international warehouse for Aircraft Spruce. This division moves to Brantford Airport in 2008, which allows the company to become one of the leading aircraft parts suppliers in Canada.

2006-2014
Aircraft Spruce continues to grow its product lines in the retail and wholesale markets and acquires several companies that help the company cover all areas of the General Aviation industry. The company website is upgraded several times to provide customers with an efficient online ordering experience. Aircraft Spruce becomes a major sponsor for EAA and AOPA.

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2015
Aircraft Spruce celebrates 50 years as a leading supplier to the Sport Aviation and General Aviation communities and ships products to customers in every corner of the world.

Last modified on Monday, October 12 2015 00:20

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