This past summer, Saris celebrated its 40th year of existence. Like all companies, we have our own inside stories, or lore. These are the stories that give our company its personality, it charisma, its spirit. In honor of Halloween, we want to share one from the archives. This is a real live ghost story...
Across from our main conference room an old, undated newspaper article from the local paper, The Capital Times, hangs on display. It is titled "Civil War House on Verona Road. Built by Southerners." Rumor has it that the house was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad system during the Civil War. Whether or not that is true is unconfirmed, but it's true that the house is OLD and has HISTORY in it.
Part of the original basement now serves as storage and testing space.
The Saris headquarters is and has always been located in this house. A number of interior renovations and expansions, including connecting the house/office to the manufacturing facility behind it (sidebar: the manufacturing facility was originally a chicken hatchery) means that the inside looks quite different. But, there are many aspects that are the same — Civil War era wood floors, intact bedrooms on the 2nd floor of the house (now used for workout areas), the basement and attic.
So it's no wonder that a ghost calls this place home.
The undated article from The Capital Times about our farm house.
This ghost story is told by our Executive Vice President, Bill Shager, who has firsthand experience with the Saris ghost.
"So, back in the day, before we had laptops we would have to do our work at our desks. Mike Mason was our director of sales at the time and because he had young children, he would often go home for dinner and bedtime, and then head back to the office to work late into the night," said Bill, setting the scene. At the time of the story, both Bill and Mike were working upstairs in what used to be bedrooms in this old farm house.
"One morning Mason walked into my office and said 'Hey, do you believe in ghosts?' I didn't, of course and poked fun at him at the thought," Bill continued. "Until the day that I DID believe. I was here about midnight, working at my desk and suddenly got that feeling. The door to my office was to my right and there was someone looking in the doorway. I looked over, there was no one there. Seconds went by and then the person, or the thing, was looking at me, standing right in front of me—right by this picture. I used to have this really big picture in my office of a woman getting out of a car. I looked up and I was like, you know, somebody is there."
"So I was finally like, 'Alright, WHAT?!', and right when I said that my picture fell off the wall and hit the floor," Bill said with the snap of his fingers. "I was like, 'Good enough!' closed my stuff, and got up and left."
Bill points to the wall where the picture used to be, to the right of this grey door.
"The next day I told Mason and we laughed, and he of course mocked me back for my disbelief. We both think she's a she because she didn't like the picture on the wall. Mason worked a lot of late nights and said that he got to the point that he could smell her whenever she'd enter his office. She's not an unfriendly ghost, just there. To this day we both believe there is a ghost up there."
"Now that we all have our laptops and can work remotely in the evening no one works up there at midnight any more. I assume she's still up there, kind of doing her thing."
We asked if anyone has checked in a while, Bill replied saying "I have no firsthand knowledge that she's there. But I am a believer that she is."
So, with every Saris product you buy, a bit of history is included in the box. A bit of spirit. And maybe a bit of our friendly ghost. Happy Halloweeeeeeen!