There is a time for dreaming dreams and there is a time for doing deeds—a philosophy which has remained with Fernco, Inc. for 50 years. Fernco, has become synonymous with not only flexible couplings, but also an ever-expanding array of innovative commercial and consumer plumbing products. Fernco’s approach of advancing product development continues today, just as it had five decades ago when one man set the bar for years to come.
In the early 1950’s William Zopfi of Ferndale, Michigan, a master plumber by trade, started his plumbing business. His focus was connecting new homes and businesses to the city sewer lines. It frustrated him that he could only connect four homes per day and was determined to find a better solution. After much experimentation, he created a tar donut that would provide a leak-proof seal. His new ‘Donut’ invention would allow him to make ten or more connections per day without the mess. Naturally, other plumbers noticed the increased efficiency and cleaner way of making a connection and asked Zopfi to sell them his unique tar donuts. In 1964 Fernco Joint Sealer Company officially took off when he received a patent and a trademark for his ‘Donut’.
In order for Zopfi’s business to expand he needed to form a team of professionals, led by a man with proven experience and vision. That man was Darrel Cooper. Behind Cooper’s marketing knowledge was a philosophy of working closely with wholesale distributors to provide products in a timely manner which would prove to be a core value that was as important then as it is today.
In 1973 the city of Dallas Texas requested a bid for the first Fernco Coupling to fit a pipe without a bell housing. Cooper saw this product as the opportunity for growth on a broad scale and established couplings in the market.
As more manufacturing and office space was required, the company moved its current headquarters to Davison, Michigan allowing the company to expand and expedite their manufacturing and shipping processes. In 1978, Cooper was named President of the company and in 1979 he purchased Fernco Joint Sealer Company forming a new company called Fernco, Inc.
Fernco remained committed to its Branded products through its wholesale distributors, plumbing, and water and sewer suppliers. However, the company recognized the need to deliver products to the unexplored Retail Market. In 1984, the PlumbQwik line was introduced exclusively for the retail market segment, which resulted in rapid market share growth.