At a minimum, it takes someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, a good idea, and determination to start a business from scratch. But take that someone, and pair him or her up with a spouse with the same spirit and drive. Now add a strong passion and insistence for taking care of people, and you get not just a business, but also a business that grows and endures for 70 years. And counting.
This is the story of Bob and Henrietta Miller.
In January of 1939 Robert Miller (b. 1916) married Henrietta C. Schneider (b. 1919). The hardworking, visionary couple opened Miller’s Textile Services in 1946 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Miller’s began as a residential pickup and delivery service of laundered clothing to working families in the Wapakoneta community.
Bob and Henrietta built the business as a place where the employees felt they were part of a family. Jackie Hager, mother of current company president Bob Hager, describes the Millers as being very good to the employees. “They hosted parties for the employees, including outings to the Millers’ cottage at Indian Lake. It really felt like family,” Jackie said. The Millers were also highly invested in the fabric of the community. “Many of the women and employees’ wives even worked nights sewing blankets and sleeping bags for the National Guard,” Jackie added.
This is the story of Roger and Jackie Hager, Dwight Good and Joe Allen.
Bob and Henrietta, being entrepreneurs, also owned the Wapak Truck Plaza, among other businesses they built and sold over the years. They sold Miller’s to three young men and their families—Roger Hager, Dwight Good and Joe Allen. Roger began working at Miller’s in 1947 as a pants presser and grew to become plant manager; Roger’s wife Jackie joined the company in 1967. In 1968 the Hagers, Dwight and Joe purchased the business.
Over time, the trio evolved the business away from the residential market and expanded it to provide a variety of services including delivering linen, uniforms, floor mats and janitorial supply products to commercial customers. The company now employs 185 and has offices serving a four-state area.
Ultimately, Roger Hager and Dwight Good bought out partner Joe Allen. Sadly, in 1984 Dwight Good passed away suddenly, and the business rested with Roger and Jackie Hager. The Hager family continues ownership today under the leadership of Bob Hager, President.
The story continues.
Robert “Bob” Hager, Jackie and Roger’s son, joined Miller’s in 1981, where he spent years learning the business from the ground up. Bob became President in 1999. His sister Michele also works in the business, and even his mother Jackie continues to go to the office regularly!
Maintaining the legacy that Bob and Henrietta began in 1946, the Hagers continue to foster a strong family-like environment and place the utmost value on the employees. Bob routinely visits employees on the production floor every Friday to greet and get to know them on a personal level.
“We’re a family-owned business who thinks of its entire workforce as family…Miller’s strives for employee quality, too. We have instituted programs to attract and retain dedicated employees, including a drug-free Workplace, providing on site learning opportunities such as a personal coaching program to help our people achieve their life aspirations, and even Financial Peace University to help them achieve their financial goals. Our recruitment and onboarding process is focused on not just hiring for the right skillset, but also for the right cultural fit to join our family.”
And so, this post-Depression era company, born 70 years ago from the idea of a young entrepreneur and his wife, has continued to survive and thrive amidst many economical, political, societal and technological shifts.
“I am proud that this company is still a fully private, family-owned enterprise,” says Bob, “and I am looking forward to third generation ownership”.