On April 11, 1969, Joseph Koenig, Sr., fired up the first extruder making ½- and ⅝-inch J Beads, pivoting from his previous vinyl siding business and officially giving life to Trim-Tex Drywall Products.
Reflecting on that day 51 years ago this week, Koenig's son, Joe Koenig, Jr., is still amazed. "Joe, Sr., was coming from the vinyl siding industry, and restarted himself as a manufacturer of interior products," says Koenig. "That’s a complete 180: finishing interior from cladding exterior. It makes me proud to think of the guts it took for my dad to venture into an entirely new industry."
Fifty-one years later, and the company has grown from making one style of vinyl drywall corner bead to manufacturing a family of over 200 different drywall solutions. Through the years, Trim-Tex has grown from that first office — a 1,500-square-foot building in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago — to its present location in Lincolnwood, IL, in a facility more than 150 times that size. The company has granted countless people their livelihoods, all right here in the U.S., and kept them coming back day in and day out. In fact, 40 percent of Trim-Tex employees have had over 20 years of service.
A lot’s changed since that first extruder started pumping out J Beads. One thing has never changed, however: Trim-Tex is still a family affair.
It’s still, quite literally, family-owned: when the elder Koenig retired, his son, Joe Koenig, Jr., stepped up to oversee the business — he’s now been a part of the company for over 30 years, accruing patent after patent for new drywall innovations to his name in the process.
But Trim-Tex is a family in other ways, too, a family that’s added many members since those early days. From production workers to engineers to designers to accountants, Trim-Tex has a way of attracting great people its way, and keeping them there by treating them like part of the family.
And it’s this particular family’s 51st birthday this week.
Coming as it does in April of 2020, during a period that will be remembered as an especially anxious time in human history, it’s an odd time to be celebrating a birthday — especially since our staff can’t get together in the same room to swap stories and share laughs. But, at the same time, maybe this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on what it is that has made Trim-Tex a success for the past 51 years. We couldn’t be more proud of our groundbreaking vinyl drywall corner beads and other products, but they’re only one part of what’s kept this company thriving for so long. It’s all about that element of family — from the Koenig family to the extended Trim-Tex family, including all our team members over the last half-a-century.
“It’s my opinion that there’s always some good in bad things, and there’s always some room for improvement in good things," says Koenig. "I’ve always lived my life that, when times are good, you always want to find ways to improve. When things are bad, as they are now, you want to find opportunities to help people — help your family, your work family, your friends — but you also want to find places to be grateful. I'm grateful my team has stepped up to the plate during this pandemic, and pleased that everyone at Trim-Tex is on an accelerated learning path right now. Years of training and preparation — all that's thrown in a basket to learn in four weeks, what you would normally learn in 24 months. This teaches everybody to think on their feet and trust their guts."
Even though many of us are working from home right now, and others are still in our plant, keeping us open for business as an essential service, we would be nowhere without the people who have kept this company on the cutting edge of drywall finishing solutions for the past 51 years. From Joe and everyone at Trim-Tex: thank you to everyone who has ever been a part of this family since 1969, and of course, to everyone who is using Trim-Tex products!