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.
The eldest son of Anne and Sol, Alan is currently the president of Colgate. Alan attended Emory University, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). He worked at Colgate throughout college, following in his father’s footsteps. He went on to receive an MBA from Georgia State University before permanently joining the Colgate team. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Pepi Wolkin, the mastermind behind Colgate’s annual holiday party. Alan and Pepi have two kids, Dennis and Brent, who are both now part of the Colgate management team.
The youngest son of Anne and Sol’s route to joining Colgate Mattress was not quite as direct as his brother’s. Although Richard was the youngest Wolkin to actually sleep on a Colgate mattress, his passions first led him down an alternate path. A lover of science, Richard attended Tulane University and majored in biology. He received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in Bacteriology and completed post-doctorate studies at Dartmouth College in Engineering. Although Richard enjoyed learning science, he could not see himself looking into a microscope for the rest of his life. Richard accepted his father’s offer to work at Colgate Mattress in 1988, and he has not looked back since. Richard is married to Mimi Wolkin and has two girls, Amy, who graduated from Emory University with a DPT/MBA dual degree and now practices as a physical therapist, and Amanda, who is writing and editing this webpage.
The grandson of Anne and Sol and the eldest son of Alan Wolkin, Dennis joined the firm after graduating from Indiana University in 1996. He subsequently received his master’s degree from Georgia Tech. In addition to serving as the Secretary, Treasurer, and National Sales Manager of Colgate, Dennis is a husband to wife Betsy and proud father of two kids, Debra and Josh (who both slept on Colgate mattresses.)
The second grandson of Anne and Sol and the youngest son of Alan Wolkin, Brent graduated from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) with a major in geography and went on to earn a Masters degree from Georgia State University. Brent taught middle school math for several years before permanently joining the Colgate team in 2008. Brent is married to Amy (giving us two Amy Wolkins in the family!) and has two adorable children, Ethan and Shai. Both kids were raised on Colgate mattresses.
We consider all of Colgate’s employees part of the Wolkin family. They are true craftspeople, dedicated workers, and expert mattress makers. The average employee has been with Colgate for over 15 years, and many for more than 30 years. In fact, there are many second and third generation employees. We truly value every one of our employees, and each reflects Colgate’s basic values of integrity and loyalty.
Many fourth generation, great grandchildren of Anne and Sol have already become involved in the business by posing in Colgate Mattress photo shoots. We hope that Colgate Mattress will remain in the Wolkin family for generations to come.