It All Started with Silver
Raised during the Great Depression, Stanley saw his parents agonize over the financial famine that swept the country, and he grew an insatiable thirst to make money. While searching for new business ideas, Stanley discovered that the Eastman Kodak Company used approximately twenty tons of silver each week to make photographic film emulsion. Eighty percent of this silver was simply washed away by the time an exposed negative reached the fixing bath. Stanley found an inventor in Cleveland who had created a silver reclaiming device. He negotiated an agreement to build the devices and to operate them through photo studios in exchange for a royalty.
In 1936, Stanley began his business with great expectations. Although he established contact with many photo labs, distribution quickly became more costly than production. He decided to call it quits. Numb with disappointment, Stanley packed his few belongings and headed home to Lima. Just outside of Columbus, God spoke to him.
› Stanley, it doesn’t need to be a disappointment. You don’t have to go broke.
› There just isn’t enough going for me, Lord! If I had capital…
› You shouldn’t be concerned about a lack of finances. All you need is faith in Me.
› I do have faith, God.
› Enough to turn your business over to me? To let me run it for you?
› Take my business, Lord, and if You’ll make it succeed, I’ll honor You in every way I can. I promise!
At the time of this pivotal conversation with God, Stanley had a mere $20 to his name. He borrowed an additional $12 from his dad, and so with $32 and God as his partner, Stanley ventured out again.
U.S. Plastic Corporation® is Born
For three years he struggled, traveling to some 30 states to grow the business. He persevered, kept costs low, and prepared for future expansion. Little by little, he saw his business expand. In 1940, he fulfilled his promise and made God the senior partner of his company. His lawyers helped him form the Stanita Foundation, a tax exempt, non-profit foundation. Fifty one percent of the company’s stock was given to the foundation and the dividends from this 51% ownership were donated directly to Christian missions.
In 1955, Stanley developed an electric silver collector that included a plastic bucket. Plastic products were not yet widely distributed and customers began to request additional containers for their own purposes. The customers then began to make requests for other plastic products such as valves, piping, tubing, and fittings. Eventually, Stanley’s plastic’s business surpassed his silver collection business and United States Plastic Corporation® was born!