When Barry Wigent joined an accounting firm in downtown Comstock Park, he “could count everyone on the street as a client.” Now the firm of Gedris, Wigent and Hossink P.C. has clients in some 25 states as far away as Arizona and New Mexico. That’s one of the changes technology has brought to the world of accounting, noted Wigent adding, “We can have clients all over.”
Comstock Park resident Bill Gedris founded Gedris, Wigent and Hossink P.C. at 3875 West River Drive in 1968. He leased space from the bank in the other half of the building, and a there was a law firm on the second floor over the bank. Wigent, who is now president, joined the firm in 1977, and Doug Hossink, now vice-president, joined in 1984. When it comes to changes, Hossink recalls, “When I started, they just got their first computer (at the firm), and now everything’s on computers.”
Hossink is from Holland. He graduated from Holland Christian High School and then Calvin College with a major in business administration and accounting. He was attracted to accounting as a career because, “I like numbers, I like working with people.” Hossink and his wife Rosalie live in Byron Center. They have four grown children and two grandchildren. Hossink likes woodworking and is an avid cyclist who enjoys Michigan’s many non-motorized trails.
Gedris and Craig Avery, the attorney next door bought the building from the bank when it closed in the mid 1980’s. Both retired in 2009 selling the building to Wigent, Hossink, and John Stephan, who bought Avery’s law firm.
Tax work accounts for the biggest share of Wigent’s and Hossink’s work, and they do financial statements and estate work. Small businesses make up the largest portion of their clients, and the two like seeing those businesses grow. “They start at their kitchen table, and then they have a ten thousand square foot office,” said Wigent, and that leads the business owner to ask, “What do I do?”
Hossink and Wigent like having their business in the Comstock Park Professional Building in downtown Comstock Park. The DDA streetscape and reconfiguration of Leland Street and the parking lot in front of their building has been a “big plus” they said because it brought parking for clients right to their front door. They also like being able to take clients to the affordable restaurants across the street on West River Drive. Being close to an expressway helps, and Wigent said he likes being able to use the Fifth Third Ballpark as a landmark to give clients directions.
Wigent is from Grand Rapids, graduating from Creston High School. He noted that the year he graduated from high school was the last year the students used slide rules because the school switched to calculators. Wigent says he’s always been a math geek and loves calculus and trigonometry. He graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in business administration, accounting, and economics. Wigent and his wife Dawn live in Grand Rapids. They have five grown children and 15 grandchildren. When he’s not busy crunching numbers, Wigent said he golfs “too much and not well enough.”