The Flesh Company Turns
St. Louis-based supplier The Flesh Company turned 100 this year. To put that accomplishment in perspective, here's a list of things The Flesh Company is older than:
- "The Jazz Age" and the mainstreaming of jazz music
- The 50-star American Flag
- The 49-star American Flag
- The Great Depression
- Women's Suffrage
The Flesh Company existed before the modern music boom, before America was whole, before the most basic and critical antibiotic science, before our country's worst economic fall—before 50 percent of our population could even vote. It's an enormous amount of history to live through, and it makes for a fascinating company history and culture, especially when the company's been owned and run by the same family since its inception.
Founded in 1913 by Roy V. Flesh, The Flesh Company began as a response to, of all things, a baseball game. After taking off work to see a Cardinals game, Flesh was disappointed following his return to work the next day, when all his boss had to say was, "Well, I wish you hadn't done that. We could have used you around here." Bothered by his boss's attitude, Flesh decided to strike off and form his own company.
Since its founding, the company has grown to be one of the largest printers in the industry, ranking 17th on Print+Promo's 2012 Top Suppliers list with a yearly revenue of $32,471,000. It's endured two world wars (the second of which Flesh's son served in, before coming home to work at, and eventually run, the company), every modern financial collapse since the market crash of 1929, and the massive contraction of American manufacturing. It's adapted to the modern computer era and helped to found what eventually became the PSDA (of which it's a charter member). Below, Roy V. Flesh, II, CEO; Bob Berardino, president and COO; and Jillian Flesh, process improvement manager, discuss the company's past, future, and what it feels like to be 100 years old.