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Entries : ServiceMaster Industries Inc.
ServiceMaster Industries Inc.

ServiceMaster Industries Inc.

Marion Wade owned a carpet-cleaning business as early as 1929. In 1947, Wade started a new cleaning company with Kenneth Hansen, a graduate of Wheaton College. In 1958, the company became known as ServiceMaster—a name that referred not only to the firm's business, but also to the founders' commitment to Christian ethics. In 1962, as ServiceMaster began to sell stock to the public, it also started to serve as a cleaning contractor for hospitals. Over the next decade, the company enjoyed remarkable growth. Annual sales rose from about $20 million in 1967 to over $200 million by the mid-1970s, when ServiceMaster had about 600 employees in the Chicago area. The company diversified in the 1980s and 1990s by purchasing a wide range of companies involved in home services, including pest control, lawn treatment, and even day care. ServiceMaster's fortunes turned downward in the late 1990s, however, after the company made two particularly unprofitable acquisitions. After selling some of its less profitable companies overseas and working to integrate its diverse remaining divisions, ServiceMaster began returning to solid profitability in the early 2000s. Still headquartered in Downers Grove, the company had annual revenues of $3.6 billion and employed about 2,500 workers in the Chicago area.