Same Name, New Meaning

March 10, 2008
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For more than half its 40 year existence, JB Industries has operated out of a building in Aurora, Ill., that is more than 100 years old and once was the site for the manufacture of horse-drawn road maintenance equipment.

AURORA, Ill. - What’s in a name? Companies often undergo name changes to better reflect a shift in direction or corporate structure. But every once in a while, the name doesn’t change but the meaning of the name does.

Such is the case with JB Industries that has been a familiar name in the HVACR industry for some 40 years.

The name comes from the last name of the founders - Stan Jarrow and Greg Brinda. But JB has now adapted a new slogan - Just Better - to match up to the JB letters. The company is still remembering its long ties to the industry, but putting a greater focus on what it considers product-related distinction.

“We take considerable pride in knowing many of our original customers still remain our customers - a testimonial to the quality of JB’s products and people that remain hallmarks of the company,” said President Jeff Cherif.

“But it is never enough to rest on past achievements. So we must continue with product innovation and superior customer support to remain viable in this highly competitive environment and to continue to earn the loyalty of our customers.”

So that means the company has been fine-tuning and upgrading its familiar pumps, gauges, and hoses; entering into a partnership with a tool company - Rothenberger - for additional product offerings; and taking on a new look as with the “Just Better” logo.

“Customer response has been positive,” said Cherif. “We achieved significant sales growth and gained market share domestically as well as expanded our customer base in the international arena.”



EARLY LOCATION

Recent changes have been taking place in a very familiar locale, a more than 100-year-old former scrape iron factory on Farnsworth Avenue in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, where the company has been for more than one-half of its 40-year existence.

The very beginnings of JB were in Aurora in 1967. Brinda had been a sales manager for Madden Brass. When the company was bought out, he opted not to go with the new owner but to partner with Jarrow and start their own company. Initially it was Jarrow Brinda Industries, soon shortened to JB Industries.

At first, the company began supplying manifolds, hoses, and brass fittings out of a site on Rathborne Avenue. The company later added third-party vacuum pumps, then began making its own pumps and continued to expand product lines.

In 1973, Ron Hill Sr. partnered with Brinda and bought out Jarrow. The company then added Lee Larsen in 1976, who remains with the company today as a consultant.

The move to the Farnsworth location came in the early 1980s with the purchase of a building that had been the former Western Wheeled Scraper Co. that dated back to 1893 and had produced horse-drawn road maintenance equipment. The site had also been a crane manufacturer and producer of materials for World War II.



REINVENTION

The company traces what it calls its ‘reinvention’ to 2005 when Ron Hill Jr., a long time JB employee, and Cherif, a former vice president at Motorola, bought out the partners at the time. “Upon change of ownership, Ron and Jeff launched a whole new look and feel to the company,” according to a statement from JB. “The company has put the focus on American-made products, quality, technology and innovation.”

The company noted what it considered notable developments in recent years. It cited a Gold Medal recognition for its DM-2 digital manifold in the 2006 Dealer Design Award of The NEWS. The company then took a bronze medal in the 2007 competition for its Atlas refrigerant scale.

And in 2007, JB announced the partnership with Rothenberger to become the exclusive distributor of the company’s tools. As it is, Rothenberger USA has its corporate headquarters in Rockford, Ill., 50 miles from the JB corporate office in Aurora.

Another reflection of the company’s adapting to changes in the industry was the announcement of a manifold gauge for use with HFC-410A refrigerant as well as HFC-404A and R-22. The three refrigerants are among the most commonly used today in both air conditioning and refrigeration applications.

For more information, visit www.jbind.com.

Publication date: 03/10/2008

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