Strauss Paper Co. Inc., has set May 31 as the closing date for its facility at 10 Slater St. in Port Chester. The company, which was founded in 1943, has been acquired by New Jersey-based Imperial Dade, a distributor of food service packaging, facilities maintenance supplies and equipment in the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Strauss Paper, which grew to become the leading distributor of janitorial and sanitation supplies and equipment in the New York City and Westchester office markets, filed a notice of closing with the state Department of Labor on Feb. 11.
Stewart Strauss, who has co-owned Strauss Paper with his sister Joyce Strauss Jonap, told the Business Journal that the 57 employees working at its Port Chester location have been offered jobs with Imperial Dade and many will be joining that company, which has a 550,000-square-foot facility in Jersey City. That compares with about 90,000 square feet in Strauss’ Port Chester building.
Most members of the Strauss family who have been active in managing the business plan to join Imperial Dade. President and CEO Stewart Strauss, 66, said that he plans to retire but intends to remain active in the Westchester business community, including as a member of The Business Council of Westchester.
“We were very fortunate to have our business in Westchester,” Strauss told the Business Journal. “We’ve had tremendous support, whether it was Westchester County or the businesses here or the village of Port Chester. Everyone treated us great, which led to our success. It started as a one-man show in the back seat of our dad’s car in 1943 and the business has grown tremendously over the years and that was due to what we got from local businesses and the local governments. The Business Council of Westchester helped us get our name out there and continue to prosper. Marsha Gordon and John Ravitz were unbelievable in helping us market our business.”
Strauss said that the company grew about twenty-fold in the past 30 or 40 years to lead the pack in its market area, which expanded to cover about a 75-mile radius from Port Chester.
“We also grew tremendously in the health care market as well as the education market,” he said, adding that all of the existing customers will continue to be served by Imperial Dade and the transition should be seamless.
Strauss emphasized the family nature of the business and recalled that shortly after his father Henry started the company, his wife Ruth joined him.
“Today the company employs myself Stewart Strauss as president and CEO; they employ my sister Joyce Strauss Jonap; they employ my brother-in-law Bob Jonap; they employ my son Josh Strauss and my niece Beth Jonap Lane,” he said. “It is very emotional on a personal level for myself and I think all of the family members,” he said.
“The people that move with Imperial will have greater opportunity, more products, a greater geographic area,” Strauss said. He said that nondisclosure agreements prevented him from discussing financial details of the acquisition.
The May 31 closing date of Strauss in Port Chester will mark one year since the acquisition by Imperial Dade actually closed. Imperial Dade, like Strauss, has relied on family in its leadership. Imperial Dade CEO Robert Tillis bought the company in 2007 and a year later his son Jason joined, rising to president. The company reports it has more than 700 vehicles in its fleet, serves about 45,000 customers and has more than 2,800 employees. Last June, investment firm Audax Private Equity completed the sale of Imperial Dade Intermediate Holdings LLC to Bain Capital Private Equity.
Strauss Paper operated in White Plains and Elmsford before moving to Port Chester in 1976.
In 2017, Strauss Paper was named to Modern Distribution Management’s list of Top Jan-San (janitorial-sanitation) Distributors.
Strauss Paper was honored in 2015 by Westfair Communications Inc., publisher of the Westchester County Business Journal, Fairfield County Business Journal and WAG magazine, for its role as a family-owned business. At the awards event, Stewart Strauss said the company started by his German immigrant parents is “truly the American dream.”