made in america
After the Great Depression closed the circus where they performed, Doc and Amelia Farmer see an opportunity to collect old, used rags that factories have thrown away, launder them and sell them back to businesses. The foundation of what would become Cintas is formed.
The 1938 Cincinnati flood destroys Acme’s plant. Doc and Amelia move their business to a new plant on Duck Creek Road in Norwood, Ohio. Acme helps other people impacted by the flood by providing day jobs for people riding the trains from town to town looking for work. As America becomes the world’s manufacturing powerhouse, towel production becomes industrialized, prompting the company to change its name to Acme Wiper and Industrial Laundry.
a new generation
Doc’s son, Hershell, takes the company helm and replaces the old rags of Doc and Amelia’s operation with shop towels—a lot like the ones we offer today. On his watch, Acme fully converts from selling a product to being a service company. Hershell’s influence is still at the heart of how Cintas does business today. The foundation of what would become Cintas is formed.
After a fire burns down the original Norwood plant, a new concrete factory is built on the same location. The concrete blocks were laid in place by the family and the building was in operation until 1962.
Acme has 12 employees and annual revenue of $180,000. Richard (Dick) Farmer is 22 when he joins the family business after college and military service.
Recognizing Dick’s drive and vision for the future, Hershell hands control over, allowing Dick to expand into uniform rental. Revenues almost double and the company hires a sales force of three full-time salesmen.
Acme moves into the Ridge Road plant, still in operation today, while the first branch opens in Richmond, Indiana.
acme uniform and towel supply
Acme Wiper and Industrial Laundry becomes Acme Uniform and Towel Supply.
Acme develops a taste for acquisitions with the purchase of Perfection Laundry and Towel Supply. The company’s name changes again, this time to Acme Uniform and Linen, Inc.
Along with Celanese Corporation, Graniteville and Redkap, Acme forms an industry group to develop the 65/35 Polycotton Fabric Blend—what we know today as the fabric that revolutionized the uniform rental industry.
With revenue of almost $2 million, Acme hires 23-year-old Bob Kohlhepp as the company’s first Controller.
In order to protect Acme, but convinced of enormous growth potential, Dick founds Satellite Corporation to provide centralized distribution and smaller uniform plants across America. Donald Klekamp, Roger Howe, Bruce Crock, and Fred Danforth are the original outside shareholders of the company.
Satellite Corporation is so successful that Acme Uniform & Linen, Inc. is merged into the Satellite Corporation and the first annual shareholders meeting is held.
After an advertising agency fails to deliver a new name to take the company into the future, Dick Farmer, Bob Kohlhepp and marketing partner Nick Curtis doodle the name C-I-N-T-A-S on a napkin.
The company officially defines our Principal Objective—to maximize the long-term value of shareholders and working partners by exceeding our customers’ expectations. Bob Kohlhepp becomes Executive Vice President and is appointed to the board.
Looking to expand operations in strategic markets, Cintas acquires our largest acquisition to date—Industrial Towel and Uniform in Houston, Texas.
The Management Trainee (MT) Program is formed to recruit and train future managers. One of the first seven MTs is Scott Farmer (Doc’s great-grandson).
Cintas becomes publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
Purolator is signed as the first National Account and Bob Kohlhepp becomes Cintas’ President and COO.
The popular Advantage Shirt is introduced and Cintas’ National Rental Program is launched when Chemlawn and Safety Kleen sign up.
Scott Farmer is named Vice President of Marketing & Merchandising.
The first catalog is produced by the Marketing Department under Scott Farmer’s direction. Catalog sales quickly exceed $130 million a year.
Always striving to pro-actively provide our customers with products and services they need, Cintas expands the floor mat product line in our Cincinnati-based operation. This begins our Facility Services initiative.
Cintas enters the Cleanroom market with the purchase of Maryatt Industries. The first logo mats are introduced in Cincinnati.
The Proknit™ rental shirt and Comfort Fabric pleated pants are added to the product line.
Maturing as a Company
Expanding outside the United States for the first time, Cintas acquires Cadet Uniform Services Ltd. in Canada.
Bob Kohlhepp becomes CEO while Dick Farmer becomes Chairman of the Board. Cintas expands Facilities Services Initiative at a national level.
Begin testing barcode technology to help identify garments. American First Aid is acquired, launching Cintas into the First Aid & Safety business.
Annual revenues reach $1 billion and Scott Farmer becomes President and COO. Cintas enters into a joint venture with Millennium Mats. Uniforms To You is acquired, expanding our direct sale uniform capabilities.
Cintas achieves 30 years of uninterrupted growth in sales and profit and acquires Unitog Co. to become North America’s largest Uniform Rental Company.
Cintas introduces Xpect® brand first aid products, stocking customer first aid cabinets with value-priced brand name products.
Cintas surpasses $2 billion in annual revenue and is added to the S&P 500 Composite Stock Price Index. The Safety Director® product line is introduced in First Aid & Safety.
First Aid & Safety partners with the American Heart Association, making Cintas the largest provider of CPR, AED and First Aid training. The division reaches $100 million in revenue. Cintas presides over NASDAQ market opening ceremony and we enter Restroom Supply Services with the purchase of Omni Services, Inc.
The company enters the Fire Protection business with the acquisition of Kamp Fire and the Document Management business with the acquisition of Smartshred. Cintas starts offering Promotional Products. “Sanis by Cintas” hygiene products are introduced.
Cintas expands into Document Storage with the acquisition of Data Storage Center. Bob Kohlhepp becomes Vice Chairman and Scott Farmer becomes CEO.
“The Service Professionals” becomes the new corporate tagline, while Cintas reaches $3 billion in annual revenue. Sanis Ultraclean® and the ReviveR® AED (Automated External Defibrillator) are introduced.
First Aid & Safety introduces Training & Compliance solutions.
Dick Farmer, Founder and Chairman, celebrates 50 years with Cintas. Cintas changes the wording of our principle objective to list our customer first to ensure they are always top of mind. Safewasher Parts Cleaning Services is introduced to the Facility Services product line.
Acquiring Certo Information Management enables Cintas to enter the Document Imaging business. Cintas begins selling uniforms in Hong Kong and Macau while the cargo pant is introduced in North America. Phillip Holloman becomes President and COO.
Dick Farmer becomes Chairman Emeritus and Bob Kohlhepp is elected as Chairman of the Board. Cintas is the first Uniform Rental Company to offer uniform rental pants designed for women.
Cintas enters an exclusive partnership with Carhartt® to provide the first ever Carhartt rental uniforms.
Cintas enters a strategic partnership with Diversey, Inc. to deliver a Cleaning Chemical Service. The company acquires three very different business opportunities—Cleanway Industries, Chemtron and Metro Door.
Cintas surpasses $4 billion in annual revenue. Cintas provides additional value to customers by introducing VIP Fire Protection. A partnership with Rubbermaid® is established to provide industry-leading Facility Services products.
Cintas serves our One-Millionth Customer! New products introduced: Performance Polo, Carhartt® Flame Resistant Clothing, Signature Series® Restroom Dispensers and Safety Center cabinets. The acquisition of DunnWell provides a national Fire Protection footprint.
Cintas and Shred-It merge Document Shredding businesses, with Cintas retaining 42% ownership. This newly formed joint venture operates under the name Shred-it.
Cintas fully exits the Document Management business and acquires ZEE Medical.
Ready for the Workday® becomes the new corporate tagline in conjunction with the launch of our first national radio and television advertising campaign. In July, Board Chair and past CEO Bob Kohlhepp retires after nearly 50 years of service and Scott Farmer is elected Chairman of the Board.