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About us

 

Since 1974, 1st Ayd has been a family-owned B2B manufacturer and distributor of maintenance, safety, and jan/san supplies throughout the Midwest and across the United States. Our Sales Force of 115+ reps stand behind our broad line of 100,000+ products, serving as a one-stop shop for our customers.  Click here to learn why Chicago Tribune consistently rates us a Top Work Place.

Our product line includes brake cleaners, hand cleaners, gloves, PPEs, degreasers, disinfectants, paper towels, trash liners, wipers, carpet care, hose clamps, wheel weights, fasteners, sanitizers, floor mats, deodorants, mops, LED lighting, material handling, tools, and beyond. Over 98% of orders ship same day, often arriving next day. We also manufactere over 100+ liquid and powdered cleaners in house.

Purpose

Support the American workforce in getting work done, by helping customers stay Safe, Clean and Maintained. 

Goals

Cheaper, Better, Faster! 

By serving as assistant buyers; helping customer lower spend, improve products and practices, and get what they need when they need it. 

What Makes 1st Ayd Unqiue?

Our owners are also salesman, on the street everyday talking to the real boss - YOU, the customer. With our 105+ rep outside sales force, you're certain to have help nearby. We're small enough to care - big enough to make a difference. 

Values

Integrity: We do what’s right for our customers, employees, and humanity at large. We listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others with respect.

Customer-Centered: We start with the customer and work backwards. We pay attention to competitors but obsess over customers.

People Power: Our most important resources are human resources, because an organization is made or broken by the quality of its people; people with work ethic, ability, initiative, and a positive attitude. 

Kaizen: The Japanese word for “continuous improvement.” We expect all employees from the CEO to entry level employee to embody this habit.

Frugality: Do more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention.

 

In the early days of 1st Ayd, our founder Tom Schreiner's trunk was his warehouse, and his car was his storefront. Little did he know, a chance encounter at a gas station would change everything..

Tom started 1st Ayd in 1974 by selling blue hand cleaner out of his car. A revolutionary new hand cleaner that a chemist crafted up for him, to help mechanics clean grease, glue, and paint off their hands. It became an easy way to make a buck out of college, driving to all the service centers and maintenance shops around town, sampling his blue soap then asking for a sale.

At one service station, Tom ran into a fellow named Jim Evans pumping a car with gas around 7pm. The next day, Tom passed by that same service station at 7am, shocked to see the same Jim pumping gas for customers! Impressed by Jim’s work ethic, Tom offered him a job. To join him selling his blue soap. Tom promised Jim that he would earn twice as much money working half as many hours by sampling and selling his blue soap. Jim was sold. Gradually, customers would ask for other things during these "blue soap" sales calls. "Tom, I'm good on soap, but do you have brake cleaner? we just ran out" or "Jim, I'll take another case of soap, but can you add some trash bags? I don't have time to go to the store this week." and thus, the product line slowly but surely grew.

In 2008, Tom Schreiner Jr began working in the warehouse during summers while in High School. He’d package soap, label brooms, pick orders, file invoices. In 2010 upon graduating high school, he began his first summer in sales while attending Illinois State University. He didn’t get his first sale until his 5th day at 4pm, vowing all week he’d quit if he didn’t have a sale by the weekend. Thanks to that auto shop in Des Plaines IL who gave Tommy his first order, Tommy has stayed with us and has risen the ranks to consistently be to the top of scoreboard with over 90% of his customers having never ordered from 1st Ayd before. He was never given a customer to prove his mettle to the team. He helps lead us into the 21st century, as we work to serve customers better every day.

At 1st Ayd, our past drives our future. As our organization grows, we find value in reflecting on the milestones that have led us to where we are today. We’re so grateful for the countless employees, sales reps, vendors, and (most of all!) customers that have supported us on our journey of growth. Click here to see highlights from our history to learn about the people, discoveries and events that have contributed to our success.