Fifty years ago, three young entrepreneurs had a dream to create a chemical company to meet the needs of maintenance professionals. In May of 1956, the founders, E.T. Swigart, Jr., Nord L. Simpson, and C.D. Werner, began living their dream by starting Spartan Chemical Company, Inc. Today, Spartan is a leading global manufacturer of chemical specialty maintenance products and industrial degreasers.
First Fifty-Five Years
Spartan Chemical began in a small, 1500 square foot building on Summit Street, in downtown Toledo, Ohio. The first product was HD-10 All Purpose Cleaner, later renamed SD-20, which became an industry leading synthetic detergent, that is still sold today. E.T. Swigart often referred to SD-20 as “the girl that brought us to the dance.”
The preferred method of sales and marketing was through the creation of a network of distribution. By 1960, Spartan products were sold through 53 distributors, had new products on the horizon, expanded its operation, and held its first General Sales Meeting.
In 1964, Spartan moved its operation to 110 N. Westwood Avenue in Toledo. The Westwood location became our home for the next 30 years. It was expanded on five or six occasions - until Spartan found it necessary to eventually establish three additional satellite locations in Toledo.
During that timeframe, our jan/san and maintenance chemical lines continued to expand. In the 80’s Spartan launched a new product line for the metal forming industry called the Industrial Product Group, or IPG, and began establishing a network of distribution designated for that product line
In the early 90’s we launched a patented chemical line based on biotechnology. It helped distinguish Spartan and our distributor associates from our competition. Eventually, in 1996, our growth necessitated the building of a 570,000 sq. ft. compounding plant on a new 133 acre campus at 1110 Spartan Drive, Maumee, Ohio.
Also during the late 70’s and 80’s Spartan began to expand internationally, creating a variety of different joint ventures and licensing arrangements as well as establishing international distribution. Today, Spartan has a wholly owned subsidiary, Spartan do Brasil, in Campinas, Brasil, with a compounding plant and offices of about 150,000 sq. ft. and 180 employees. Spartan also has additional representation in 28 other countries through assorted distribution and licensing arrangements.
In the 90’s, Spartan diversified into the computer industry, acquiring a company called CompuClean, which is a software tool that is a natural fit with our end-user marketing and institutional cleaning products.
Spartan also launched a comprehensive chemical line for the food processing industry.
In 2002, Spartan led the National Green Cleaning movement with a line of environmentally preferable products called the Green Solutions products. It was this line that started the “green revolution” in an industry previously dominated by yesterday’s technology.
Continuing with that proactive movement, in 2005, Spartan expanded the environmentally preferred concept and introduced new products, called BioRenewables®, based on technology that promote our renewable resources and contribute to environmental improvement.
Spartan Chemical Company celebrated its 50th Anniversary on May 10, 2006. Over the years, those employees’ faces have certainly changed and grown in number - and their contributions have been innumerable. But their philosophical commitment to high standards and quality products, supported by unparalleled customer service, are cornerstones that Spartan personnel have always embraced.
In 2007, Spartan completed a 29,000 square foot expansion to the corporate headquarters building, expanding the total building to over 600,000 square feet.
Spartan introduces a complete line of Laundry products, Clothesline Fresh™ in 2009 and a line of warewash products, SparClean, in 2010 to complement the Clothesline Fresh Laundry Line.
The Next Fifty-Five Years
Looking into the future, Spartan will continue to create, manufacture, and sell products to meet the ever-changing needs of the maintenance industry, all the while upholding its dedication to quality, cost-effective products. The faces will continue to change, but their resolve and dedication to growth, ingenuity, service, and integrity will be constant.