Akron, Ohio is about 40 miles south of Cleveland, and seventy years ago it became the rubber capital of the world. You can think of the array of businesses that developed in Northeast Ohio as different branches on one big rubber tree, and the seeds of that tree were Harvey Firestone and Charles Goodyear, names you probably recognize from your tires. Harvey and Charles each started their businesses in Akron and the industry grew around them. Chemists in Akron made a number of rubber breakthroughs, and pretty soon every major tire company other than Michelin had business in Ohio.
The overflow of rubber expertise gave rise to a host of rubber ancillaries. Guys working at the major tire plants would say “I can do this myself” and start up their own mold shops and extrusion shops. Eventually the spinoffs had spinoffs. There was one company by the name of Mantaline. Today, there are probably seven business owners / managers in Northeast Ohio who can say they got their start at Mantaline.
The guys who started these shops were all owner/operators. But as they got older, in most instances their children had no interest in taking over the family business, and many of these guys were left without continuation plans. Over the past few years, many of these businesses have come to us looking for acquisition advice. At UP&R we maintain an aggressive stance towards future growth through acquisition. This is made possible by our corporate management, The Cypress Companies. They have tremendous relationships with lending institutions, and a reputation for long term business strategy, fiscal vigilance and expert management. Through their knowledge and our experience with acquisitions, we’ve become a resource for the rubber owner/operators in Northeast Ohio.
While the number of rubber businesses in the area isn’t quite as high as it used to be, that same rubber expertise lives on. Northeast Ohio’s proud tradition in rubber manufacturing continues today, and we’re proud to be a part of it.