Company Milestone - Storied History

Business Began Creating Sunshades In 1887

SunshadeBags by Troy, which operates under the Troy Sunshade Co. (asi/92252) name, is celebrating 125 years in business. It was 1887 when Frank Douglass and Gus Stouder from Troy, OH, began manufacturing sunshades for carriages and called their business The Troy Carriage Sunshade Company. Their line eventually came to include sun visors, umbrellas and similar items, as well as metal hubcaps. As automobiles came into mass production, they also started producing windshields.

As World War II raged, they did their part by supplying windshields for army trucks and components for generators and welders, while rebuilding interiors of worn-out aircraft cylinders.

In 1982, the company relocated to Greenville, OH, from Troy, and 10 years later acquired the Strayer Coin Bag Company of New Brighton, PA. In October 1999, the company officially joined the ad specialty industry, and now it operates with 30 employees. No longer do they produce carriage sunshades, though they have kept the original name.

"We now specialize in American-made custom cloth products," says Carolyn Hollinger, vice president of sales, who is celebrating 30 years with Bags by Troy this month. "Our bags are popular with teachers, lawyers, Realtors, funeral homes, the financial industry, military personnel, government agencies and even for newspaper circulation," she says. "We offer them in vinyl, nylon, laminated nylon, Cordura and canvas." Hot sellers, she says, are zippered bags and portfolios. The supplier recently added the Logo In Motion Pen, assembled and printed in its plant. In-house, the company offers silk screening and heat pressing, while embroidery is done by an outside embroiderer.

To commemorate the company's milestone, Hollinger says it recently released a special 2012 catalog and has specially designated booths, decorated in red, white and blue, at trade shows this year. "We were featured in the local paper, and our Public Access TV channel conducted a segment on us for a program called ‘Our Town,'" she says. "We're also holding an open house later this year for our employees and their families, as well as local dignitaries."

In addition to a long entrepreneurial history, the company gives back through charitable efforts, including the annual March of Dimes WalkAmerica, the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, Light the Night for Lymphoma & Leukemia, the Fraternal Order of Police Shop with a Cop, a local Corporate Challenge and the Special Olympics. Troy Sunshade employs workers through the Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities from Wayne Industries.

The employees are personally involved as well. "On an ongoing basis, two employees are auxiliary members of the local fire department," says Hollinger. "I'm on the advisory group for the Community Blood Center and I volunteer at the Darke County Park District; I've logged over 1,000 volunteer hours there." Many employees are active in their churches and schools, and the company often donates time, money and necessities to them.

"We've been in Greenville for 30 years and we all live within a 15-mile radius," says Hollinger. "So we take pride in supporting the community; it's our way of saying thank you for the support for the past 125 years."