From a basement in Batavia, IL to the leading scientific equipment supplier in the educational market. Flinn has a long history of providing top-of-the-line products and exceptional customer service.
It was 1977 when Lawrence Flinn Jr. proposed an idea to his family―a risky idea that could jeopardize their security and his career. After working for two large laboratory supply companies, and being stonewalled in his attempts to convince them to provide better service and products for teachers, Lawrence’s passion for science education led to a courageous decision . . . to quit his executive job and start a new company.
As Lawrence’s oldest son, Larry Flinn III, remembers, “On the day I graduated from college, my dad said, ‘Larry, how would you like to start our own business?’ He had the vision to start a business that only focused on science teachers and their needs. He put everything he owned at risk including his home and his pension. We borrowed money and went to work!”
With only three employees―Lawrence, his wife Margaret, and Larry―Flinn Scientific began in the basement of their home in Batavia, Illinois with a few work tables made from old doors laid on top of used file cabinets. To pay the bills, father and son worked night jobs at local factories, though admittedly they would sometimes “call in sick” so they could travel to schools and teacher conventions, and to conduct workshops. Larry’s brother Patrick joined the company as soon as the business could support another partner.
Teachers recognized that Flinn Scientific was indeed different from other companies. Here was a family-owned business that truly put the needs of its customers first! The most critical need of all was laboratory safety. Flinn Scientific responded by providing safely packaged chemicals, free safety training and unique safety products. A teacher in Texas described Flinn’s leadership in promoting safety by writing, “Flinn alone has done more for safety in the science classrooms of America than legislators and educators combined.”
With teachers as their top priority, Flinn Scientific introduced significant “firsts” including:
Small, clearly labeled containers of chemicals to reduce the dangers of storage and spills
The list of innovations continues to grow―and teacher associations from across the country have honored Flinn for its achievements. Teachers’ high regard for the company was expressed by William Hunter, Professor of Education at Illinois State University, who said about Flinn Scientific, “They have a reputation for being the most teacher-friendly supply company. Teachers trust them. Teachers rely on them.”
Teachers’ support of Flinn Scientific is reflected by the company’s impressive growth. It’s amazing to see the impact that Flinn Scientific’s success has had on the entire science supply business. The industry that once ignored Lawrence Flinn’s ideas now looks at Flinn Scientific as a role model. With great pride, Flinn Scientific continues the tradition of putting its customers first by providing quality products, outstanding service, fast delivery, and safety leadership.