From the Basement to a Booming Business

October 08, 2019

When Zatkoff Seals & Packings was founded 60 years ago, space was a premium. “When we first started the business, we did not have the capital to fund an external space. Elaine and I made the decision to use the basement of our home to save on overhead. So in between kids’ clothes drying in the basement were O-ring parts,” remembers founder Roger Zatkoff. It truly was a family operation from the get-go.

Detroit & Farmington Hills

In 1960, due to business growth, the company found a new home in Detroit. Over the next decade, several additional nearby buildings were purchased to house inventory. Eventually, the need for more space prompted a move to a brand-new facility in Farmington Hills in 1976.

To keep up with demand, in 1985, we added on a small parts warehouse with three levels of shelving space to hold inventory. We also added a double truck well and turned the old warehouse into bulk storage. In 1999, we expanded again to include a new customer counter, two stories of corporate office space, a dedicated training facility, and a conference room.


In 1968, Roger knew that expansion was key in continuing to serve customers quickly. Initially, our Toledo branch was just a tiny space to house inventory, but we quickly outgrew that space and moved into a new facility in 1974. Since then we have moved two more times, once in 1979 and again in 2014, each time drastically increasing space and reworking the floor layout to improve efficiency.

Grand Rapids

During the early 1980s Roger Zatkoff gave one of his salespeople the western Michigan territory to see if he could expand Zatkoff’s presence there. That salesperson worked out of an apartment for a few years to call on new customers and offer solutions by working on projects together in person. By 1983, sales had dramatically risen to the point that the office needed a physical space for customers to visit. Zatkoff rented a small warehouse in Kentwood, Michigan, and brought additional staff from Farmington Hills to run the office.

Then, in 1994, we built our own building to house a growing inventory, and in 2001 we doubled our warehouse once again to keep pace with demand. This allowed Zatkoff to provide its engineering knowledge in the fluid handling, consumer durables, and automotive markets for manufacturers based in western Michigan. In 2019, 25 years after its construction, we started undergoing a remodel of the original building’s conference room, packaging room, and main entrance.


In 1983, Zatkoff purchased the William Roy company, located in the Russel Industrial Center, to be able to manufacture certain gaskets and create die cuts for customers in house. “Our space in the Russel Industrial Center was located on multiple floors, and we needed to have a more organized layout,” remembers Art Steitz, retired branch manager. So, over the Thanksgiving weekend in 1999, most of the Zatkoff family and many wonderful employees helped to move into the new facility, where they are still located today in Warren, Michigan. Located just around the corner from several major automotive plants, the Zatkoff Manufacturing Division is always on-call for urgent customer needs.


The initial Saginaw branch was purchased in 1989 to keep up with the growing company inventory, moving to its current location in 1994 and expanding in 2007. The location was ideal due to its proximity to the Saginaw Steering Division-which supplied several automakers-as well as two large foundries. Zatkoff quickly became the go-to leader in the industrial hydraulic industry in mid-Michigan and saw Saginaw as the perfect location to quickly get needed supplies into customers’ hands. Learn more about the founding of our Saginaw branch here!


Zatkoff purchased CBB Seal in the city of Cleveland in 1994. CBB Seal had a long-time presence in the Cleveland/Akron aerospace and material handling markets. This was an excellent acquisition since Zatkoff Seals & Packings’ main markets were fluid power, fluid handling, oil & gas, and consumer durables. Branch manager Brian Gilboy recalls that, “entering into the aerospace market absolutely filled a gap in Zatkoff’s arsenal by providing our renowned customer service in northeast Ohio in the early 90s.”

Zatkoff also gained a physical warehouse presence in the region, allowing us to service both Ohio and Pennsylvania customers. Improving our regional coverage was achieved by combining both company resources. Six months after opening, the Cleveland branch moved to Warrensville Heights, Ohio, to better geographically serve our customers. In 2003, the branch moved again to our current location in Twinsburg, Ohio, to accommodate the need for additional inventory space.


The emergence of the life sciences industry, broader pressure and temperature requirements in industrial markets, and our increased demand from customers in Indiana quickly created an opportunity to expand into Indianapolis in 1994. After many successful years at our first location, the Indianapolis branch moved to Anderson, Indiana in 2010 to a brand-new building. The location of our office right at the crossroads of major trucking routes allows customers to pick up new inventory seamlessly while in transit.


Last, but certainly not least, Zatkoff purchased Southern Ohio Seal in 1997 to continue their expansion into southern Ohio, offering additional coverage to Kentucky. A few years later, in 1999, this branch relocated to a new building a few miles away in order to improve operational efficiencies. The Cincinnati location allows us to primarily service the aerospace and fluid handling markets, due to its additional safety certifications. The Cincinnati branch inspects over one million aerospace components annually, successfully quarantining any defective parts before customer delivery.

Zatkoff Seals & Packings is a true home-grown business. From humble beginnings in our founder’s basement to eight fully-operational branches throughout the Midwest, we are proud of what we have built together. We look forward to seeing what the next 60 years bring as we carry on our dedication to creating strong relationships with our customers and serving our communities.

If you’d like to learn more about our company, products, or the industries we serve, please contact us today.


More News

Across the world, as COVID-19 continues to impact the economic landscape, organizations are diversifying their supply chains to mitigate production and service interruptions. Zatkoff Seals & Packings continually expands our supply chain to avoid similar interruptions for our customers to prevent negative impacts on their business operations. Simultaneously, we consistently strive to maintain the high product and service quality our customers are accustomed to.

Read More

When an O-ring is under high-pressure gas for an extended period of time, and that pressure is reduced too rapidly, explosive decompression can occur. The gas that gets trapped or absorbed in the O-ring’s micropores causes splits or ruptures in the surface of the O-ring.

Read More

Zatkoff provides advanced integrated solutions for medical device components through Parker Chomerics, offering proven solutions in EMI shielding and grounding, thermal management, integrated display, plastic injection molding, and safety testing. These innovative products are used in critical, life-saving medical devices.

Read More
© Zatkoff Seals & Packings 2020. All Rights Reserved.