The Garland Company, Inc., an employee-owned roofing and building envelope systems manufacturer with headquarters here, will celebrate 125 years in business in 2020, joining a very small and elite group of companies to achieve such a milestone. Garland has been an innovative force in the roofing industry, developing numerous waterproofing technologies that have helped redefine performance expectations and set new standards worldwide.
Founded in 1895, the company’s humble beginnings began when Jacob B. Wise borrowed $100 from his brother to purchase Garland Refining Company, later renamed The Garland Company, Inc. The company moved to its current headquarters at 3800 East 91st Street in Cleveland’s Union-Miles neighborhood in 1919. There have been several additions and renovations to the building over the last century to accommodate growth, but the original building is still operational.
Garland was reorganized and revitalized in 1974 when three entrepreneurial salesmen agreed to purchase the company from the original family. Along with building a successful business, the original three men and five others who later joined them wanted to create a culture that celebrated its employees and never waivered in its commitments. Part of achieving that included establishing an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) that provided ownership to each of Garland’s employees. The board of director’s simple desire to allow everyone to share in the ownership of the company has had an impact far beyond what they could have ever imagined.
“Ownership truly is a powerful motivator. It helps create a connection and an investment in a company like nothing else,” said David Sokol, Garland’s president since 2004. “To me, it’s very obvious that ownership means something to our employees. The level of success we have reached would not have been possible without our ESOP or the culture created because of it.”