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     Jerry and John formed a very strong and unique partnership when they founded Cole-Parmer in 1955. They understood each others strengths and deferred to those strengths in growing the business. They decided early on, at a time when the prevailing sentiment was "buyer beware", that Cole-Parmer would have a "Customer is King" focus. They always put the customer first, a philosophy Cole-Parmer still strongly believe in today. Mr. Cole was instrumental in establishing Cole-Parmer’s international business which continues to experience strong growth today.

     Perhaps the largest contribution Jerry made was in the marketing and advertising aspects of Cole-Parmer. He pushed to make the Cole-Parmer catalog 4-color, at a time when most were still black and white. This change is one of the reasons the business became an industry leader within a direct mail business model. The Cole-Parmer catalog is a lasting tribute to Jerry's vision.

     When partners Jerry Cole and John Parmer founded Cole-Parmer in 1955, they were businessmen on a mission. There was no budget for personal salaries; no budget to hire additional employees. Instead, the pair poured their money into catalog advertising and inventory, and took up shop in a 1,200-square-foot loft on West Illinois Street in downtown Chicago. The two founders had a strategy so perfect in its simplicity they were certain they could not fail—to form a company dedicated to providing the best possible customer service and technical assistance while offering the broadest selection of products available.

     The company’s steady growth allowed Cole-Parmer to expand to a 12,000-square-foot location in 1960, and to a 47,000-square-foot facility eight years later. That same year, Cole-Parmer purchased Barnant Company, makers of world-renowned Masterflex® peristaltic pumps—which was followed by the purchases of Gilmont® Instruments and Manostat® Pumps. Each acquisition was an effort to improve upon the selection of products offered to customers and to provide the ability to directly fill orders at reasonable prices.

     In 1972, the company sought to better service its overseas customers by forming an International Division that today includes 70 foreign dealers in 107 markets. This was followed by the establishment in 1989 of Labcor Ltd. (now Cole-Parmer Canada, Inc.) in Canada, and, later, Cole-Parmer U.K. in London, England.

     The strategy devised by Cole and Parmer more than 50 years ago lives on. It is the heart of the Cole-Parmer mission statement and the reason Cole-Parmer remains a thriving, ever-expanding entity dedicated to customer service. Today, Cole-Parmer ensures prompt delivery to customers through a state-of-the-art, 155,000-square-foot distribution center at its Vernon Hills, Illinois location. It has a thriving Web presence serving customers worldwide, and continues to expand in the global market.

     Truly, the history of Cole-Parmer is a continuing success story. Cole-Parmer continues to depend upon our customers for support. In turn, customers know they can depend upon Cole-Parmer for selection, solutions, and unparalleled customer service.