Compounding firm Americhem Inc. is healthy and alive at age 75.
The Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based firm marked its 75th anniversary on Nov. 29. It was founded in 1941 as the Caldwell Co. in a small office in Akron, Ohio, by Sylvester Caldwell.
At that time, its business consisted of selling pigments and additives to the rubber industry, much of which was based in Akron and northeast Ohio. Today, Americhem is based in nearby Cuyahoga Falls and operates 10 plants worldwide. Its annual sales are close to $300 million.
“We're moving from the second to the third generation of the Juve family,” President John Deignan said in a recent interview in Cuyahoga Falls. “That shows we've got staying power and are in a strong financial position. The family has consistently reinvested in the business.”
The Caldwell Co. grew quickly after its launch. By 1950, it was occupying its own building in Akron. In 1953, the firm hired Richard H. (Dick) Juve, who had experience with Goodyear Tire & Rubber — which accounted for about 80 percent of Caldwell's business.
Caldwell opened its first plant in Akron in 1959 and changed its name to Americhem that same year. Americhem made its first international sales in 1963 and moved its headquarters to Cuyahoga Falls in 1965.
A key product move was made in 1969, when Americhem made its first masterbatch concentrates for vinyl siding. Juve and Vice President Harvey Cooper — another key figure in the firm's growth — each had acquired a one-third stake in Americhem in 1958. In 1979, Juve became majority owner. That same year, Americhem opened a plant in Mansfield, Texas.
Juve's son Richard C. (Rick) Juve joined the firm in 1982. Rick Juve had worked in sales for Colgate-Palmolive for two years, but joined Americhem in a production role in order to learn more about the company.
Another new plant was opened in Concord, N.C., in 1989. Americhem in 1991 made its first masterbatch concentrates for PVC decking applications.
Rick Juve became president and CEO of Americhem after his father retired in 1993. Dick Juve passed away in 1995.
“Throughout [Dick Juve's] leadership, his open nature was enjoyed by employees and customers alike,” officials said in The Colorful History of Americhem, a company history that was published in 2012. “He always emphasized the importance of keeping your word and your promises.”
Mark Juve, Rick's son, represents the third generation of the Juve family at Americhem. He currently serves as director of the firm's building and construction business.