Customer takes over family business after tragedy

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Three months after Gene Ruse was killed, his business lives on in the hands of a customer.

A Brookwood employee works on a display piece in the shop on Old Maumee Road Thursday.

Lynn Reecer is took stock of Brookwood Cabinet Co. on Old Maumee Road Thursday. She, along with a small group of others bought the the 70-year-old company, with the blessing of the Ruse family.

“We all sat together for the closing,” new co-owner Lynn Reecer explained. “I would say they were relieved that the company was going to go on. They took such good care of their employees and staff. They were very close small company like a family.”

Among that family: Kevin Haverstock who shared his pride in his work. He told NewsChannel 15 he does what ever needs to be done from seeing cabinets and furnishings be built to being finished and installed.

“Gene hired me right when I got out of the Army in ’78,” Haverstock said. “I’ve been here ever since.”

Haverstock is one of four craftsmen working right now.

A painter works in the Brookwood Cabinets workshop Thursday.

“We’re looking forward to increasing and improving,” he added.

Officer manager Mary Marchesano sat by Ruse every day he was in the office.

“We only put out a quality product,” Marchesano said passionately. “Gene demanded it. I’m sure Lynn will continue that. They are very good craftsmen and very proud of their work.”

Reecer expects the staff to expand in the coming months. A new CEO has already been hired. She  also stressed the need for hiring more craftsmen and someone with CAD experience.

A new showroom on Lima Road, near Ludwig Road, is also in the works.

Police say Ruse was killed by his son Scott in July.