Strauss Paper Co. Expands through Acquisition, Retains Staff

By Sue Minichiello

AStrauss_Paper_FleetffinEco and Strauss Paper Company are kindred spirits, as much as that’s possible in the business world. Both are family-owned companies that grew out of humble one-man, back-of-the-car beginnings into thriving multi-state operations. Strauss Paper President and CEO Stewart “Stu” Strauss says the company’s relationship with AffinEco Managing Partner Paul Senecal dates back to the early 1990s, when Senecal first began working in the cleaning business and long before he had his own company.

With such strong ties and common backgrounds, Senecal and the AffinEco leadership congratulate the Strauss Paper family on their latest business move and happily share the good news: The janitorial supply company has been acquired by Imperial Dade and has retained its location, leadership structure, staff – even its name – simply adding the suffix, “a division of Imperial Dade.”

“As we continued to grow, we wanted a better long term plan for our whole team – employees, clients, and suppliers – that would assure a more secure future for everyone,” said Stu Strauss. “Being acquired by Imperial Dade gives us just that with additional stability and room to grow. We’re excited about the future of Strauss under the leadership of Imperial Dade.”

Founded in 1935, Imperial Dade distributes disposable food service and janitorial supplies in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest, and Midwest regions, plus Puerto Rico. For Strauss Paper, that means instantaneously expanded geographic reach, product access, and buying power.

Stu said Strauss Paper has always been “built on the highest quality products with white glove service,” the latter meaning the ability to get clients what they need the same day or, at worst, the next day. But when AffinEco expanded into the Boston market, Strauss couldn’t be its distributor at that “white glove” level. Now it can.

“We’re excited about the increased resources Strauss can now offer and we’re thrilled that its leadership and staff remain in tact,” Senecal said. “Strauss Paper has been a vital partner for United Services and Affineco since our inception.”

AffinEco Managing Partner Michael Diamond concurs, “We value our longstanding relationship with Stu and the whole team at Strauss Paper and congratulate them on making a deal with Imperial Dade that enables them to grow while maintaining their talent and base of operations.”

Stu is proud of the company he and his sister Joyce Jonap inherited in 1984 when their father Henry passed away. Family-owned and professionally run for 75 years, the Strauss Paper story epitomizes the American dream. Henry emigrated from Germany and built a business out of nothing. Stu and Joyce are first-generation Americans now at the helm of that business with a leadership team that includes Stu’s son Josh along with Joyce’s husband Robert, and their daughter Beth Lane. Together, the family has steered the company to success, all the while demonstrating extraordinary loyalty to everyone who has contributed.

“At the start, we were more about the food service side of things,” Stu said. “When we bought Troubleshooter – a distributor specializing in janitorial supplies – about 30 years ago, the business focus shifted.”

And Stu is pleased to say even the Troubleshooter team is still with Strauss, including its founder Robert Tamilio and Robert Tamilio, Jr. who now serves as executive vice president for sales and marketing.

Clearly, the tradition of staff consistency and continuity is deep-rooted. Gary Olson has been with Strauss Paper since 1978 and has been AffinEco’s rep. for more years than he can count. Despite the acquisition, he’ll continue to serve in that role for years to come, which means the ownership change at Strauss will largely go unnoticed by AffinEco’s customers.

“Stu and Gary have always stepped up for us over the years, and knowing the two of them and other key staff members are staying on ensures a successful future for Affineco, Strauss, and our mutual clients,” said Senecal. “And that’s a great feeling.”

Image courtesy of Strauss Paper