The history of General Polymers, the company and the product line, is the story of how a company can grow and become a market leader when a small number of highly dedicated people apply new chemical technologies to create products that better meet the needs of the marketplace. Throughout its history, the company expanded to insure the service needs of customers were met and insure those with problems could quickly and conveniently contact a local representative to help solve their problem.
The predecessor of General Polymers was founded in November 1966 as the General Plastics Company. General Plastics was a subsidiary of the Foy Johnston Paint Company. General Plastics was founded to create and market to homeowners, do-it-yourself seamless flooring kits made from epoxy and paint chips (GEPCO Kits). Initially, these GEPCO kits were sold through Foy Johnston retail paint stores, as well as other retail stores such as Sears. Concurrent with the sale of the kits, the same product was packaged in larger containers for sale to the specialty flooring contractors that were beginning to serve the new seamless flooring market.
During the early years, the company began advertising in Sweets and the Thomas Register, which expanded its area of influence from the Midwest and began developing opportunities in other markets. The growing awareness of General Polymers also led to the association with the company of Jim Weber as Sales Manager. Mr. Weber was located in Chicago, Illinois. He sold the company's first large terrazzo project at the McCormick Place Convention Center in 1970. This began an involvement with the terrazzo industry that was to help drive the company's growth to the present.
In the early to mid-70's, the General Polymers Corporation, as the company was named, worked to broaden its product line to be more appealing to the needs of the commercial and industrial markets and the specialty seamless flooring contractor towards whom the business was now focused.
In 1980, Foy Johnston sold the business to the operating managers. The new focused sales organization helped grow sales and in 1984, the company moved from its original home in Norwood to a new 45,000 square foot building in Fairfield, Ohio. At this time, the owners began positioning the company for sale. In January 1986, the company was sold to outside investors who brought a renewed focus on providing high performance, durable floor and wall coverings. The company shifted from being a follower to a leader in its industry. New proprietary products and innovative marketing programs were introduced, and the size and capabilities of the sales and technical service organizations were greatly expanded.
These changes resulted in accelerated sales growth which quickly surpassed the capabilities of the Fairfield, Ohio facility. Thus, in early 1988 the company moved again, this time to a large 250,000 square foot facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was designed to meet the expansion needs into the foreseeable future.
General Polymers became known within the industry as a technological leader, providing novel solutions to construction problems. The company was the first to bring antimicrobial additives to the seamless flooring industry. EPO-FLEX® was another innovative product. It is based upon an internally flexible epoxy and sets the standard in the industry for crack bridging under seamless floors and containment systems. As a waterproofing membrane, EPO-FLEX provides superior adhesion, when compared with the traditional urethane materials.
As General Polymers continued to grow, it became apparent the service needs of the customers in the western states could not effectively be served from only one manufacturing facility in Cincinnati. Therefore, in early 1992, the C.E. MacMillan Company in Los Angeles was acquired and converted to General Polymers West. C.E. MacMillan had been established in the late 1950's and was primarily a producer of waterproofing membranes and coatings.
The acquisition of C.E. MacMillan broadened General Polymers product range and its machinery allowed for the production of General Polymers products on the West Coast. More importantly, the acquisition of C.E. MacMillan allowed two new key individuals to become associated with the company; John Durig, who became President of General Polymers West and Lonnie Salyers, who became Vice President. Their efforts successfully established General Polymers West as the leading supplier in its market area and brought new technological and sales skills to the organization.
In early 1994, John Durig transferred to General Polymers in Cincinnati and became its President, while Lonnie Salyers became President of General Polymers West.
General Polymers began a joint venture with Liquid Plastics Ltd. in Preston, England to service the needs of customers in the United Kingdom. This relationship continues to grow as Liquid Plastics Ltd. provides expanded sales and service throughout Europe.
In April of 2000, General Polymers Corporation was acquired by The Sherwin-Williams Company.
The General Polymers product line maintains its brand identity and is supported through
a dedicated sales and marketing team. In addition, the Sherwin-Williams Industrial and Marine
sales organization is thoroughly trained on the General Polymers product line and can assist in product selection,
specification and technical support for our Approved Contractor network and the specification
community. The blending of the small company attitude and personal attention with the support and resources of
a Fortune 200 company, has established a platform for growth for our customers, end-users, specifiers and
Sherwin-Williams. The Sherwin-Williams Company is ideally positioned with talented individuals,
technology, resources and local Service Centers to be the predominant leader in the flooring
and concrete coating industry.