Friedrich Gretsch was an immigrant from Mannheim in Germany. He initially founded a small shop in Brooklyn, New York during 1883 which sold drums, banjos and tambourines. Unfortunately Friedrich passed away unexpectedly in 1895 at the age of 39, and Gretsch was left to his teenager son, who was still attending school.
Fred Gretsch, Friedrich’s son, expanded the company. Demand increased, and the company soon moved to a 10 story building, but still remained in Brooklyn.