Our founder's journey from business owner to employee.
Stanley Tam was born just outside of San Francisco, California in 1915. When he was nine years old, his family moved to a farm near Lima, Ohio. It was in Lima that Stanley began his quest to succeed in business. Unbeknownst to him, Lima would also mark the start of his spiritual journey. He describes his parents as religious, moral people who raised him in the church. "We didn't smoke, drink, or swear, but we were not really Christians," he confides.
He recalls a critical day that not only affected his spiritual life, but would also profoundly impact his business career. Stanley was selling door to door, household items, extracts, "Stanley products," and the like. He knocked at the door of a farmer's wife and she invited him in. After making a purchase, she asked Stanley if he would be willing to listen to her presentation. When Stanley agreed, she shared with him about her relationship with Jesus. Stanley left the farm house under deep conviction. "I was convinced she had the kind of spiritual reality I wanted," he confesses. Six weeks later, he decided to accept Jesus as his Savior and he became a Christian himself. At first, he experienced doubt and frustration, but as he began to study the Bible, those doubts faded.
Raised during the Great Depression, Stanley saw his parents agonize over the financial famine that swept the country, and he grew an insatiable thirst to make money. While searching for new business ideas, Stanley discovered that the Eastman Kodak Company used approximately twenty tons of silver each week to make photographic film emulsion. Eighty percent of this silver was simply washed away by the time an exposed negative reached the fixing bath. Stanley found an inventor in Cleveland who had created a silver reclaiming device. He negotiated an agreement to build the devices and to operate them through photo studios in exchange for a royalty.
In 1936, Stanley began his business with great expectations. Although he established contact with many photo labs, distribution quickly became more costly than production. He decided to call it quits. Numb with disappointment, Stanley packed his few belongings and headed home to Lima. Just outside of Columbus, God spoke to him,
"Stanley, it doesn't need to be a disappointment. You don't have to go broke."
"There just isn't enough going for me, Lord!" Stanley argued. "If I had capital..."
"You shouldn't be concerned about a lack of finances. All you need is faith in Me."
"I do have faith, God."
"Enough to turn your business over to me? To let me run it for you?"
"Take my business, Lord, and if You'll make it succeed, I'll honor You in every way I can, I promise!"
At the time of this pivotal conversation with God, Stanley had a mere $20 to his name. He borrowed an additional $12 from his dad, and so with $32 and God as his partner, Stanley ventured out again.
For three years he struggled, traveling to some 30 states to grow the business. He persevered, kept costs low, and prepared for future expansion. Little by little, he saw his business expand. In 1940, he fulfilled his promise and made God the senior partner of his company. His lawyers helped him form the Stanita Foundation, a tax exempt, non-profit foundation. 51% of the company's stock was given to the foundation and the dividends from this 51% ownership were donated directly to Christian missions.
In 1955, Stanley developed an electric silver collector that included a plastic container. Plastic products were not yet widely distributed and customers began to request additional containers for their own purposes. The customers then began to make requests for other plastic products such as valves, piping, tubing, and fittings. Eventually, Stanley's plastic's business surpassed his silver collection business and United States Plastic Corporation® was born!
The same year, as a guest speaker at a church service in Medellin, Colombia, Stanley had another significant conversation with God that would further change the structure of his company.
"What are you asking me to do, Lord?"
"Stanley, if you agree a soul is the greatest value in the whole world and is the only investment you can make in this life that will pay dividends throughout eternity, would you be willing to go back to Ohio and become an employee of Mine?"
"An employee, Lord? Isn't that what I am now?"
"We're partners now, Stanley. I want you to turn your entire business over to Me!"
Stanley was stunned. It was beyond anything he had ever considered, but he managed to pray, "If this is what You want, I will obey."
On the way home from South America, Stanley mustered the courage to share the experience with his wife Juanita. She supported the decision wholeheartedly and together they signed over 100% of the company's stock to the Stanita Foundation. Furthermore, they quickly decided that if God was going to own the business, they should give Him room to expand. They made immediate plans to build a new plant four times larger than the old one, five acres under roof. This new facility was strategically placed at a curve on I-75 so that all who drove by could read giant letters on the front declaring: CHRIST IS THE ANSWER.
To this day, God owns U.S. Plastic®. Many people have heard about God's love thanks to the work and mission of this company. If you too would like to know God personally, please read the following text and tell someone of your decision.
We invite you to know God personally.
Becoming a Christian and receiving eternal life is the most important decision you can make. This is a personal commitment made from the heart. Here are three steps to eternal salvation:
Admit you are a sinner.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
— Romans 3:23 (NASB)
Receive Jesus Christ as Savior.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
— John 1:12 (NASB)
Confess your faith.
If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
— Romans 10:9 (NASB)
A suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. This day I ask you to come into my life as my Savior and Lord. I am willing to turn from sin and follow you. Thank you for hearing my prayer and giving me eternal life today. Amen
Trusting Jesus as your Savior is the most important "product" we promote at United States Plastic Corp®. If you have accepted Christ as your personal Savior, we would like to help you learn more about what it means to be a Christian. Email us today and we will send you the book Now That I Believe.
If you would like to see more of Stanley's Story please check out The Stanley Tam Story.