Sometimes the more things change, the more they remain the same. In 1893, folks were mindful of spending wisely and getting value for their hard-earned dollars. It was a year of economic instability and huge swings in the stock market. Yet, people imagined life would get better. They were eager to see the new inventions and products at the World’s Fair in Chicago.
Even in 1893, entrepreneurs brought products to market that offered their customers solutions. When Henry Lueders began distributing kerosene and other oils from a horse-drawn wagon, he founded H. Lueders & Company. The business rapidly expanded and eventually moved to the suburbs of Chicago. The name was now Sunnyside Corporation.
Henry Lueders started this business by always keeping the customers’ interests in mind. His founding principle was to provide quality products at fair prices with outstanding service. Today, Sunnyside continues to build on that foundation by investing in the company, our products, and our customers.
The recent supply chain disruptions have opened the eyes of many consumers and manufacturers to see the vulnerability of foreign-produced goods. US companies are reevaluating the cost-benefit equation of producing overseas. Increasing retail prices and lack of availability have limited consumers and prompted the question, “why can’t we make that here?” Sunnyside products have always been produced domestically. While we source from suppliers affected by the global market, we feel very proud to make all our products here in the USA.
Sunnyside is fortunate to have longstanding relationships and partnerships with many of our suppliers, but nonetheless, we are having the same daily challenges other manufacturers are having. It’s a very complex environment with increasing prices, allocation of raw materials, labor shortages, and unpredictable product demand. Working closely with suppliers, customers, and employees combined with flexible manufacturing and purchasing resources have all contributed to our ability to meet our customer’s needs over the last 24 months.
Sunnyside’s location in the Chicago suburban area has helped with our exposure to and procurement from suppliers and provided a central shipping point to our customers. While we distribute nationally, our location does help with the transportation lead times to get products to market.
We are consistently looking for innovative ways to introduce new products and improve existing products. This area is also of great focus due to existing and pending regulations limiting VOCs. Again, this goes back to cooperative relationships with our suppliers for new ingredients/additives for developing formulas or tweaking current products. Our relationship with our customers also fosters the development of new products if they seek a solution for a competitive replacement or category gaps in their existing offerings.
High-quality products are developed through meticulous innovation—consumer-focused packaging with clear instructions on use and safety. Uniform container options provide a more appealing and organized planogram presentation. We offer a product line encompassing hundreds of items and sizes, offering the broadest range of thinners, solvents, cleaners, removers, and paint additives.
We have been challenged by the labor shortage, but Sunnyside has been very fortunate to have a great group of long-term employees. We have historically been able to retain talented employees, and many have tenures of 20 years or more. This stability is a testament to the quality of our working conditions and the safe environment here at the company.
We support several charities in conjunction with our customers, including The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and other foundations.
Sunnyside has always strived to retain customers through our high service level and quality products. We maintained exceptionally high fill rates and service throughout the pandemic by proactively managing our packaging, raw materials, and workforce. Our teams work diligently to eliminate bottlenecks in our processes to allow us to keep filling orders and get products out the door. Customer requirements are constantly changing and demanding specific conditions for their orders. It’s an operational necessity to keep providing more information to match logistic automation. One principle guides our philosophy on the level of service to our customers, “Quality products, shipped complete and on time.”
The company’s longevity in the industry has been predicated on supplying a complete range of products for consumers buying in the paint, hardware, and home improvement channel. Our goal is to develop superior products and deliver service exceeding the customer’s expectations. Next year is a huge milestone for us. Sunnyside will celebrate its 130<th year in operation. We must be doing something right. I think that says it all.