• What you didn’t know about Silica might suprise you.

  • Follow along as we walk you through the history of Silica Appliance & Electronics...

  • To say Silica Appliance & Electronics has come a long way in its 87 years would be a massive understatement.
  • Mark Sherry-Delta Publications
  • But some things never go out of style.

  • Just as Matthew Schneider did in 1922 and his son Alphonse started doing when he took over his father’s business in 1951, customers still get greeted at the door. They still see friendly, smiling faces helping them, and they still find people who know what they are talking about when it comes to appliances, televisions and other electronics.

    “None of the way we do business ever changed,” said Tom Schneider, grandson of Matthew and son of Alphonse.

    Matthew would no doubt be flabbergasted if he set foot in today’s Silica For Your Home store and saw the multi-colored, energy-efficient washers and dryers, the multiple home theatre rooms set up around the store, the giant TVs with crystal-clear pictures, and so much more.

After all, Matthew was just the owner of a cheese factory
in the tiny crossroads of Silica, a few miles northeast of
Fond du Lac. He undoubtedly listened to farmers on a
regular basis complaining about this or that breaking on
the farm and having to run to Fond du Lac or elsewhere
for hardware, so Matthew decided to open a hardware
store in a building directly across the road from the
cheese factory.

A natural businessman...

Matthew was obviously a naturally smart
businessman as he saw an opportunity. Tom
said, “If he would buy their milk, the farmers
could buy hardware and he would take it off their
milk checks. It’s pretty interesting hearing about
those stories now.”

Matthew passed away before Tom was born, but Tom
knows firsthand about how his father, Al, grew the business. It had nothing
to do with five-year plans or mission statements. “What made him so good is he enjoyed people,”
Tom said. “It was a genuine concern. He’s the best businessman I’ve ever met.”

Tom added, “We can plan growth—then there’s the growth that’s unplanned.” The Silica business
grew simply because customers liked the total experience of shopping there. People would travel 40
or 50 miles to buy what they needed at Silica. “It was word of mouth,” Tom said. “They had friends,
they had family.” People liked the cowbell ringing when they entered the store, the hardwood floors
and the tin ceiling.

“He was fun—he was a joker in his own little way,” Tom said about his father’s years in the hardware business. “He would know in the piles of stuff where everything was.”

Al took chances, too

Al was understandably concerned when Silica For Your Home moved from its Silica location in November 1999 into its spacious, modern new location in Fond du Lac. But as Tom pointed out, his father ushered in plenty of changes himself during his years at the helm, including getting into the appliance, electronics and lawn and garden businesses and building on to the Silica store. “He took the same type of risks,” Tom said.

Even though they have been in Fond du Lac since 1999, Tom said there is still a special place in their hearts for Silica and the people of that area. But he said those people have remained loyal customers of Silica. People still travel from long distances to shop there, and they still spread the value of shopping at Silica by word of mouth.

Of course, technology has provided Silica with other ways
to measure customers’ opinions. As for online customer surveys, Tom said, “We hear a lot of the same things -- the ‘you’re so awesome’ comments. It’s the same experiences we’ve heard before.”

Continued growth

Silica in Fond du Lac added to their product lineup in 2014 with the addition of a furniture and bedding department. Within those departments you will find sofas, recliners, sectionals, area rugs, accessories, wall art, mattresses, adjustable bases, bedroom furniture and more. This addition brought on the change of the business name from Silica Appliance & Electronics to Silica For Your Home. “When we added these departments to our store, we changed the business name to Silica For Your Home because we offer products for our customers entire home,” Tom said.

Visit Silica For Your Home in Fond du Lac, Beaver Dam or Watertown to experience why . . .

Silica isn’t the best because it’s the oldest,
it’s the oldest because it’s the best!
  • Pictured are the current owners of Silica from left: Thomas Schneider, Dennis Schneider, Joshua Schneider, John Schneider and Joe Schneider.