About Our Story – A Family-to-Family Business
When Russ and Dona Edmundson outgrew their early model Toyota Landcruiser, Dona wanted to replace it with a new one that had three rows of seats and an automatic transmission. With four children, two still at home, and expecting grandchild number seven they needed more seats in their vehicle. Russ, an Oakland CA police officer at the time, didn’t want the pricey new Landcruiser, figuring he could get a Ford Explorer and build a 3rd row seat for it and save ten thousand dollars. Dona agreed; so after researching the possibility of building and securely installing a third seat in an Explorer, they ordered one in late 1991. Their new Explorer arrived in November and Russ had the seat completed and installed before Christmas. The end of the story, no, just the beginning.
In February, a local Ford dealer saw their 3rd row seat and commented that he didn’t know Ford made third seats for Explorers. When Russ told him they don’t, that he had built the seat, he said “everyone” is asking about third seats for the Explorer. Russ, about a year away from retirement, thought this might be an opportunity for a family business. After discussing the possibility with Dona they began to research the feasibility of starting a business.
A friend, with a machinist and engineering background, who had helped Russ built the first seat and design the mounting system, agreed to help him built a jig to build the seat frames and mounting systems. The Edmundsons converted their garage into a small shop, their den into an office and hired Eric, their oldest son, who had just completed welding school, and started the business manufacturing and selling 3rd row seats for Ford Explorers. They sold their first seat in June 1992 and sales reached 21 seats by the end of the year. By July of 1994 sales had reached 40 seats a month and they had outgrown their garage and needed more help. Peter, their second son, was hired and they rented a larger shop near their home.
Little passenger seats is still family owned by Eric Edmundson, Russ’ Son. We have a small skilled staff who, along with Eric’s four children, hand build every seat that is made on- site at Little Passenger Seats. To date (July 2015), Little Passenger Seats sales have exceeded 22,000. This is a real family-to-family business, helping families who have outgrown their SUV.