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Centennial Member Spotlighting

Ruprecht Company

Started in 1860, the Ruprecht Company has earned the distinction as being the oldest operating beef processing company in the Chicago area.

In the company’s earliest days, before refrigeration existed, the company provided a daily source of meats in Chicago to restaurants and to homes, said John Morrison, who works in human resources, safety and security for the company.

“Their goal was simply providing meats to the City of Chicago,” he said. “The company grew as refrigeration came in and changed the process of the meat business. Chicago is always seen in the United States to be the center of beef production. Even though Texas gets the connotation of being the cattle raiser, it’s ironically Chicago that developed the beef business.”

Moving and operating the past five years in a larger facility in Mundelein, the Ruprecht Company now provides its products such as steaks, chops and roasts to restaurants and stores not only across the United States but also overseas. Their global reach extends to the Middle East, Europe, Asia and South America.

In the last 10 years, led by Walter Sommers, the third generation of the Sommers family to lead the business, the Ruprecht Company has expanded beyond offering raw meats and offers cooked product as well. Using a steam cooking process, Morrison explained the product is seasoned and cooked in plastic packaging safe for cooking.

“We have everything from a braised lamb leg to an Irish stew. There are so many products that we produce and that go into stores, and it’s nice because people can cook a vegetable, warm up one of the products and serve their family a home-cooked meal,” he said.

Their continued focus is offering what consumers want, high-quality food, value, and service, which Morrison added has earned the company the right to stand out within the industry.

PEER Bearing

There are thousands of applications where bearings can be used from washing machines and lawn mowers to ATMs and vehicle transmissions. But one may not realize all the places these bearings can be found.

“In a caster for fishing, there are approximately six miniature bearings in just the caster of a fishing rod,” said Mary Pawlowski, senior marketing specialist for PEER Bearing Company.

PEER Bearing strives to meet or exceed expectations for its customers, suppliers and employees around the world, providing for 75 years the parts needed to provide the solution.

“We do quite a bit to meet the customer’s demands depending on what they need,” said Rick Karlin, director of human resources. We research the problem or concern and then we recommend the bearing solution.”

PEER Bearing, formerly known as Archer Bearing Company, was started by Nate Spungen. The company’s original focus was purchasing surplus lots of bearings from original equipment manufacturers or through auctions held on behalf of the U.S. military, Karlin noted. But in the late 1950s, the surplus bearing market dried up. The focus turned to manufacturing sourcing.

Started on Archer Street in Chicago, the company changed its name to PEER Bearing Company and moved its North American headquarters to Wheeling in the 1970s. The company relocated again to its current location in Waukegan in 1999. Expanding the facility to meet demands, the company operates within a 180,000-square-foot facility on Norman Drive.

“What attracted them to our current location was access to strong transportation and a good labor force,” Karlin said.

PEER Bearing has always kept a presence globally, featuring sales and distribution facilities in Latin America, Europe and Asia, Pawlowski added.

PEER Bearing provides bearings to various industries, agriculture being the largest. And while the company has received much recognition for providing a quality product and performance, Pawlowski noted the company also attributes its good reputation and success to its focus on technology and employees. Within the past 50 years, the company has made advancements while creating patented solutions. Now and in the future, the company will utilize technology to improve the speed and efficiency of how products are purchased, produced and shipped.

“We’ve invested a lot in our technology and consider ourselves a leader in technology,” Pawlowski said.

Paddock Publications

When Hosea Cornish Paddock purchased the “Palatine Enterprise” in 1898, he began a mission to start a newspaper with one aim.

Fear God. Tell the truth, and make money.

Following that same mission, his work, the efforts of his family and devoted staff have worked to build Paddock Publications, Inc. The family company publishes the Daily Herald, the third largest daily newspaper in Illinois, continuing to provide the truth to over 80,000 subscribers across the Chicago area.

“It still rings true today. It’s why we’re here,” said fourth-generation Stuart Paddock III, Senior Vice President of Digital Technology and Information Systems.

Stuart Paddock III recalls the effort Hosea made to build this newspaper business. “He used to go around on horse and buggy to solicit subscriptions. It cost $2 per year to subscribe to the newspaper, but he would take payment in potatoes or corn because people didn’t have the money to pay for it,” he said.

In 1922, Hosea renamed the company H.C. Paddock and Sons, named after his sons Stuart and Charles.

The newspaper grew to cover over 90 communities across the Chicago area as well as provide readers national and international news. Stuart Paddock III attributes his company’s growth to their continued belief in providing a quality product.

“People trust our brand and our products. We work hard to retain that trust. To do so, we keep a pulse on each community and respond in the community’s best interest,” he said.

While the focus always has been to tell the story right, there has been a paradigm shift on how people want to consume the news. Part of their job today and into the future is adapting their product to meet that need, Stuart Paddock III said.

“To date, we’ve done a good job of doing that,” he said. “We’ve diversified into digital products, offering an electronic edition for people who want to read us digitally but want the look and feel of a real newspaper. We have our website. We have mobile technology. We want to do what we do best no matter the vehicle of delivery.”

In over 115 years since Hosea bought the “Palatine Enterprise,” company ownership has rarely changed. Hosea transferred ownership to his sons Stuart and Charles in 1922. Then, Stuart’s children, Stuart Jr., Robert and Marge, took over in 1968, and leadership was reorganized with Paddock heirs before Stuart Jr.’s death in 2002.

Independent newspapers are a dying breed, Stuart Paddock III said, most have been sold to larger corporations. While Paddock Publications, Inc. takes pride in being a family newspaper, they also value the family they have built, the staff who have devoted 20, 30, even 40 years to make Paddock Publications a trusted name to provide the news. He said Hosea would be proud of what they have built.

“As a community-minded, family newspaper, we live in the same communities we serve. We value the information we’re able to provide. We take our job seriously, and we listen intently,” he said.

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