Sol and Anne met on a bus en route to a dance hall in New York. Shortly thereafter, Sol enlisted in the United States Army Air Force during World War II, and he and Anne wrote letters to one another each and every day. When he returned stateside, he realized he never wanted to spend another day without Anne, and they soon married. After working for several years at a coat-making company, Sol recognized he wanted to run his own business.
Sol’s best friend’s father had opened the original Colgate Mattress factory in New York at the turn of the last century. Sol partnered with Ben, the founder’s son, to open Colgate Mattress Atlanta Corp but sadly, Ben died soon after and Sol and Anne were on their own in Atlanta. With only a $1,500 loan from Sol’s brother-in-law, Sol and Anne Wolkin founded Colgate Mattress Atlanta Corp. in 1955. Their first factory was in a small, 4,000 square foot building on Ponce de Leon Avenue near the old Atlanta Crackers home baseball stadium.
Anne was the backbone of the business, running the entire office. Colgate expanded several times on Ponce de Leon Avenue before relocating to its present 60,000 square foot location in historic Cabbagetown, Georgia. Colgate was founded on the values of integrity, loyalty and honesty, and Anne and Sol passed these principles onto their three children, Alan, Joan and Richard, their five grandchildren and their four great-grandchildren. Sol and Anne’s memory lives on, as do their family and business values.