Cleveland-based The Garland Co. Inc. announced the company is marking its 125th anniversary. Founded in 1895, the company’s humble beginnings began when Jacob B. Wise borrowed $100 from his brother to purchase Garland Refining Co., later renamed The Garland Co. Inc. The company moved to its current headquarters at 3800 East 91st Street in Cleveland’s Union-Miles neighborhood in 1919. There have been several additions and renovations to the building over the last century to accommodate growth, but the original building is still operational.

Garland was reorganized and revitalized in 1974 when three entrepreneurial salesmen agreed to purchase the company from the original family. Along with building a successful business, the original three men and five others who later joined them wanted to create a culture that celebrated its employees and never waivered in its commitments. Part of achieving that included establishing an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) that provided ownership to each of Garland’s employees.

“Ownership truly is a powerful motivator. It helps create a connection and an investment in a company like nothing else,” said David Sokol, Garland’s president since 2004. “To me, it’s very obvious that ownership means something to our employees. The level of success we have reached would not have been possible without our ESOP or the culture created because of it.”