Zep Marks 75th Anniversary:
Celebrates Legacy & Looks toward Future Growth
ATLANTA (February 23, 2012) – Starting with a small loan and a few customers in Atlanta, Zep’s founding fathers probably didn’t predict that their simple janitorial supply company would grow over the next 75 years to become an international industry leader of specialty chemicals with more than $645 million in sales.
Today, Zep Sales & Service celebrates its 75th year in business by remembering its early days and focusing on its long-term growth strategies.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to Mandle and Sam Zaban, William Eplan and Sam Powell, who started the original Zep Manufacturing Company with a $6,000 loan from Mandle Zaban’s life insurance policy,” says John K. Morgan, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Zep Inc. “Their initial vision, coupled with the drive of subsequent leaders, has helped to propel our company through three-quarters of a century of success and growth.”
Morgan points to two individuals who helped to make Zep what it is today: Mandle Zaban’s son Erwin and Harry Maziar.
Erwin Zaban began working at the company at age 16, sweeping floors and mixing chemicals. He later became company president – a position he held from 1947 to 1966. Driven by the thought of growing Zep, Erwin Zaban embarked on an expansion program that led to new facilities and product offerings. Between the time he joined the company in 1937 and the time he left the position of company president, sales grew from $100,000 a year to $29 million.
The company’s first Director of Sales, Harry Maziar, followed in Erwin Zaban’s imposing footsteps and led Zep to even greater heights, growing sales from $29 million to $350 million.
Sales growth wasn’t the only thing propelling Zep toward a bright future. In 1962, the company merged with National Linen Service to become National Service Industries Inc. (NSI). In 1968, the company purchased Selig Industries and today continues to market Selig brand products to consumers. In 1997, Zep purchased Enforcer Products, Inc., enabling the company to expand its presence into retail with the development of the Zep Commercial product line.
In 2001, the Zep®, Selig™, Enforcer® and National Chemical® brands were maintained under NSI Chemicals Group, which later became Acuity Specialty Products Inc., during Acuity’s spin-off from NSI. In 2007, Acuity Brands, Inc. announced plans to separate Acuity Specialty Products, Inc. from its sister company, Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc., and to rename the new independent public company Zep Inc.
Looking to the Future
For its 2,300+ employees and 200,000+ customers, Zep’s future is indeed bright. Today, the company supplies more than 4,000 products worldwide, including well-known brands such as Armor All Professional™, Aspire™, Country Vet®, Enforcer®, EnviroEdge™, GreenLink™, i-Chem®, MicrobeMax™, Misty®, Next Dimension™, Niagara™, Original Bike Spirits™, Selig™, TimeMist®, TimeWick by TimeMist, Zep®, Zep Commercial®, and Zep Professional®.
“Our focus is and always has been to offer our customers the widest selection of top-quality institutional and industrial cleaning products, coupled with superior personal service and professional technical support,” adds Morgan. “Our prospects for long-term growth and prosperity are extraordinary. We continue to invest in innovation and channel expansion. We continue to improve operational efficiencies. And we continue to transform our business to meet the future needs of our customers.”
“I’d like to believe that the Zabans, Harry Maziar and everyone who has worked at Zep over the last three-quarters of a century would be proud of our accomplishment. And I’m excited to think about what the next 75 years will bring.”