COMPANY HISTORY FROM THE CHAIRMAN
100 years and counting…In the
beginning, 1913, the partnership of Siegfried R. Fanta and Richard Pollak
brought the all-cotton elastic bandage to the U.S.A. from Germany and formed The
Tetra Company. The company located at 350 N. Clark Street; Chicago, Illinois in
Room 213. The number 4 in the circle became the trademarked company logo adopted
from the Greek definition of the word “tetra”.
The Fanta/Pollak partnership
continued until 1945 when Ernest Pollak being the sole surviving relative took
over the business. Over the years the business fell on hard times and Ernest
Pollak surrendered the business to his lawyer, Joseph Kotz, in payment of his
Joseph Kotz incorporated The
Tetra Company in the state of Illinois on October 1, 1953.
Mr. Kotz hired James Shier in
April of 1963 as his assistant. Jim’s duties included ordering inventory, order
taking, order filling, shipping, invoicing and going on sales calls with Mr.
Kotz. Shortly thereafter, Jay Hearst, looking for a new business opportunity
approached Joe Kotz to buy him out over a period of years.
Product wise, from 1913 to the
early 1950’s the all-cotton Tetra bandage was the only product of The Tetra
Company. By 1964 we had three lines of rubber-reinforced elastic bandages as
well as the all-cotton. Rib belts led the way for other orthopedic soft-good
products. Anti-embolism stockings came shortly after and in the 70’s it seemed
like we had something new every month, some successful, others not so much. Our
main focus has always been elastic bandages as we continue to improve weaves,
closures, lengths and packaging.
By 1965 we outgrew our space at
350 N. Clark and had a new 2500 square foot building constructed at 2744 N.
Southport Avenue in Chicago.
Jay Hearst’s buy-out was
complete in January of 1968 and Mr. Kotz left the business. The size of the
business now made it necessary to have a full time clerical person so Jay Hearst
asked Jim if I would be interested in coming in to answer the phone. I started
at Tetra on February 1, 1968.
During 1969 we outgrew the
Southport building and we moved to 2850 N. Lincoln Avenue, also in Chicago. The
initial structure was 7500 square feet which was expanded to 9000 square feet as
In 1976, Jay Hearst moved his
family to Boulder, Colorado and found it difficult to deal with the growing
pains from that distance. By that time we had a staff of five outside
salespeople as well as five full time inside people. Jim was vice president and
I was the controller so we took the next logical step when Jay wanted to sell
and offered to buy him out. The sale was complete in December of 1977.
In 1983, once again growth
necessitated a move to our present building at 6364 W. Gross Point Road in
Niles, Illinois. Although our children have worked on and off with us since
1977, James, Jr., who we call J.R., came to work permanently in 1983 when we
moved to Niles. He has learned the business from the ground up and now serves as
our President. Jim Shier, Sr. retired in 1998 but continues to be available as a
In May of 1992 we changed the
company name to Tetra Medical Supply Corp. to more closely identify ourselves
with the market that we serve.
I currently hold the title of
Chairman of the Board and Chief Financial Officer. We have been certified as a
woman owned business for many years. Presently, we are certified by the state of
Illinois and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Counsel.
Our employees are the most
valuable asset of our company. We are a small, close knit group that continues
to grow the business with team work, great customer service and a family
atmosphere. We hope that you enjoy our new catalog and refurbished website which
was put together with input from all of us. And we thank you for the opportunity
to be of service to you and your organization.
Constance A. Shier