Calvin Katz Inducted 1994 - Class of 1946
They call it serendipity -- the good fortune of making a valuable discovery by accident. Calvin Katz calls it the secret to his success.
This member of the Woodward Class of 1946 was raised in a home on Palmer Street nestled in the heart of a close-knit multicultural neighborhood. His father owned the Checker Store, an auto parts and accessories shop, on the corner of Adams and 12th Streets.
Cal joined the family business while he was still wet behind the ears. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Michigan. Then, fate stepped in.
After he graduated, Cal frequently visited his college buddies in Detroit. During one of those excursions, Cal happened upon a newspaper advertisement touting a while-you-wait muffler service. Most of us would have given a "what will they think of next" shake of the head and moved
on to the sports section.
The ad, however, piqued Cal's interest. So much so that his friend offered the use of his father's car to do a little detective work. While the muffler was being replaced, Calvin knew he was at the right place at the right time.
Returning to Toledo, he sprang into action. In 1953, Cal opened Muffler King as an annex to the Checker Store. The Muffler King reigned as the first instant muffler service shop of its kind in Toledo. His business took off.
A few years later, Cal's Muffler King joined the newly created Midas Muffler chain which originated in Chicago during the mid-1950s.
The Midas touch was truly golden for Cal. His business grew in Toledo. He opened a few stores in Akron and Columbus.
Later, Cal's brother, Arthur, joined the family muffler business. Arthur, who is an attorney, is a W.H.S. alumnus, Class of 1943.
Today, the Katz enterprise represents the largest Midas Muffler franchise. Cal owns 100+ stores throughout the midwest, including 11 in Toledo and the surrounding area. Currently, the international chain boasts more than 1,800 stores with locations in the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico. Cal said he has traveled overseas to take a peek at the other Midas operations. (Old habits are hard to break!)
In 1986, Midas Muffler gave Cal the Nate Sherman Award, one of its most prestigious honors.
Before Cal was recognized as the king of mufflers, he was royalty on the W.H.S. basketball court. The highlight of his playing days occurred his senior year. While Cal was captain of the team, the Polar Bears captured the title of state semifinalist. Unfortunately, Woodward did not win the state championship game. (The Bears lost to Middletown.)
Although he excelled all four years at W.H.S., he did not go on to play college hoops.
Cal credits his attention to team work, ability to work effectively with people, and knack for remaining calm during stressful situations to former W.H.S. basketball coach, Homer Hanham. "He had a winning way, in a very subdued manner, that made us go that extra mile."
At Woodward, Cal's leadership abilities were recognized off the court, too. "I signed up to take typing and shorthand and decided to join the secretarial club. I soon learned that I was the only male in the organization. The funny part is, they made me president!"
Cal still takes on prominent roles -- although his shorthand is a little rusty! Currently, he serves on the Board for the Darlington House. He is also active in the University of Toledo Rocket Club and Booster organization.
Married to Bernice, they have a daughter and a son and three Grandchildren.