February 10, 2018 marks Goodyear Rubber Products, Inc.’s 70th year in business, after being founded on Central Avenue in beautiful downtown St. Petersburg, Florida in 1948 by Murray and Jackie Jacobs
After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1945, Murray M. Jacobs and his new bride, 'Jackie,' left Brooklyn, New York for their new home in St. Petersburg, Florida. They opened "Jackie & Murray's Sunset Beach Playground," where they served hot dogs for 10¢ and a cold beer for only 25¢.
During the 2 years of owning & operating the restaurant, Murray found himself reacquainted with his Uncle Mo Bilchick, who had himself retired from the rubber business in Brooklyn. With Uncle Mo's help Murray established his own rubber business in February of 1948 and Goodyear Rubber Products' first storefront was opened at 2534 Central Avenue.
The business was a family affair: Murray's mother handled the books, Jackie's dad handled the customers, Jackie herself answered the phone, and young Murray loaded up his station wagon each morning with garden hose, matting, rainwear and gloves, and circled his route of 'Mom-Pop' hardware stores. Murray made monthly rounds North to Port Richey, South to Venice, and East to Lakeland heralding his motto, "IF IT'S RUBBER, WE HAVE IT!"
As the years passed, Murray Jacobs offered his wide range of industrial rubber products to the neighboring cities and counties. The emergence of industry along the West Central coast of Florida inspired Murray to become a key supplier of a wide range of industrial rubber products for the region's growing markets.
In 1986 Murray passed away, and Jackie once again found herself active in the business. With her son, Bob, at her side they began moving toward expansion. Goodyear Rubber Products' first satellite location was opened in 1991 in Clearwater. 1995 saw the opening of the Fort Myers Parker Store, followed by Parker stores in Bradenton and Tampa in 2000. Along the way an exciting new concept was developing: the "Hose Doctor," a mobile van equipped to fabricate and install hoses on the job site!
In 2000 Jackie passed away leaving a legacy behind her. With Bob 'at the helm' as the company President, along with Vice President and General Manager, Eric Von Kaenel, the 'Goodyear Family' lives on and the company continues to grow and prosper.
Goodyear Rubber Products’ headquarters at 1912 Central Avenue now covers a full city block that includes the company’s corporate administration, purchasing, central warehousing, production and fabrication facilities, as well as the company’s conveyor belt division.
Goodyear Rubber Products also has locations in Bradenton, Clearwater, Ft. Myers, Naples and Tampa, Florida. These 5 satellite locations are known as “Parker Stores” and have a clean, retail store-front look and feel to them. In addition to Parker Hannifin Hydraulic products, these community-specific stores carry a representation of the company’s full offering, basing their inventory on the requirements of their local customers.
The companies that Goodyear Rubber proudly represents are a veritable Who’s Who of the top names in the Industrial Rubber Products industry, including; Band-it, Continental/ContiTech, Dixon Valve & Coupling, Flexaust, Flexco, Hose Master, Ideal/Tridon, Kanaflex, Kuriyama, Novaflex, Pacific Echo, PT Coupling, Parker Hannifin Corporation, SEPCO (Sealing Equipment Products Co.), Sun Flow, Thermoid and many other top-quality Manufacturers. These top-tier suppliers provide industrial hose, metal hose, hydraulic hose, gaskets, food grade hose, expansion joints, ducting hose, marine hose, clamps, adapters, pneumatics, brass, steel and stainless fittings and adapters, power transmission belts and accessories, mechanical seals, packing, conveyor belt, gauges, filters, regulators and lubricators, protective clothing and much more.
As a charter member of NAHAD, the premier oversight group for the industry, and a member of the NAHAD Hose Safety Institute, all of Goodyear Rubber Products’ assemblies and practices are to the highest existing industrial standards.
Additionally, the company is certified by Parker Hannifin’s Industrial Hose Division’s Circle of Safety program and also have had their testing, assembly and calibration methods approved by NASA. With multiple large industrial crimpers, they can crimp hose up to 10” Inside Diameter, while offering certification on their assemblies for hydrostatic pressure testing, electrical continuity testing and many other processes, providing a valuable resource to their end-user customers as well as to other distributors. Certification to USCG Standards is a specialty. Safety, reliability and adhering to the very highest available standards are hallmarks of Goodyear Rubber’s daily practices.
Their unparalleled vendor brand choices, their large inventory of hose and fittings and superior expertise and fabrication capabilities; when coupled with their blind shipping capabilities, make Goodyear Rubber THE choice for supplying their many distributor partners the “cut and couple” requirements they need to service THEIR customers. Redistribution of cut, assembled, tested and certified hose, along with many other affiliated products, is a very important part of Goodyear’s service.
Goodyear Rubber has even trademarked their own line of top-quality hose and belting products, Good Flex™, and are rapidly growing the number of items available exclusively under that prestigious brand name.
This once small, localized company has grown greatly and now covers the United States and, indeed the world, with quality products and unparalleled expertise and service. An exploding export business has Goodyear Rubber Products sending items all over the globe and their brand representation has given them a loyal following throughout all 50 states, while always maintaining a “Family-Like Atmosphere” for their associates, vendors and customers.
As Bob Jacobs is fond of saying, “The Goodyear experience should always be a cut above the rest and it is our people and our vendor partners that make that difference. We want every customer coming away feeling they were treated as if they were our most important customer, because they are!!”
With a strong, forward-thinking management team in place, the company is well poised for the NEXT 70 years!