Going back to 1953, our founders used the concept of “The Image of Difference.” It was a simple yet powerful idea that encouraged us to make everything we do better than it had been done before. Over the course of more than six decades, we have grown into a global company with market leading positions in a number of product categories. Yet across all our locations and products, it is the thread of this philosophy that holds together everything we have become and everything we do.
Leadership is synonymous with stewardship. We recognize that our past leaders built the foundation for success that we have inherited. Our current leadership team understands the pivotal roles they play in shaping and directing our company so that future generations inherit a vital, healthy and prosperous organization. You’ll find our leadership team, along with leaders in all levels of our organization, don’t confine leadership within the four walls of our company, giving back in leadership roles in industry associations, steering technical committees and serving on boards in community organizations.
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Hopkins® was founded in Emporia, Kansas by E. L. (“Bud”) and R. E. (“Gene”) Hopkins in 1953 with auto body repair tools, beginning with the Dial-Pick, an adjustable pneumatic pick hammer; this was followed by an invention that forever changed the way automotive headlights were installed. The Hoppy® Head Light Aimer has become synonymous with head light aiming globally. Hopkins embraced plastic resin technology to help make aimer lighter, more durable and more accurate. This technology was adapted to winter tools and in 1975, the company introduced the Bear Claw ice scraper and the Super Deluxe snowbrush, which created the category at retail from what traditionally had been a give-away item from your insurance agent or local gas station. This changed the course of the company, transforming from a body shop focused tool maker, into a consumer products company. Over the ensuing years, Hopkins has become the #1 developer, manufacturer and seller of winter snow and ice tools.
As our position in winter expanded, Hopkins sought to add a business to complement our winter products. In 1985, Hopkins acquired Olathe Wiring, creating another category at retail for DIY’ers that prior to this was only available from an installer and a business that has since grown into the #1 vehicle-to-trailer towing electrical solutions company in North America. The growth of these businesses into market leaders was driven by what the Hopkins brothers called “The Image of Difference.” Their simple idea was to not accept the way things are currently done, but strive to make them better. This philosophy remains a guiding focus at Hopkins today!
TRANSITION FROM THE HOPKINS’ FAMILY
In 1997, the Hopkins family decided to retire and Hopkins began a transition from the family business to a more dynamic company whose growth was driven by organic growth and acquisitions that complement the business and the company’s competencies.
Between 1997 and 2004, Hopkins broadened and strengthened its focus in consumer products, acquiring Jasco, a leader in interior organization products; Gary Plastics, a winter scraper, snowbrush and vehicle cleaning company; Towing Accessory Products (TAP), a trailer brake control and wiring company; FloTool the leader in fluid handing products; and Brake Buddy, inventor and market leader of portable RV tow-brake solutions. Each acquisition expanded the company’s footprint in the Aftermarket and strengthened its position in core categories.
In 2005, Hopkins purchased Carrand Companies, Inc., the leader in car care tools selling products under the Carrand® and AutoSpa™ brands. This expanded the vehicle cleaning business into a market leading position and complemented the existing winter tools business, making Hopkins the #1 vehicle cleaning company year round, whether it be cleaning snow and ice off a vehicle in winter or dirt and grime in the summer.
Also in 2005, Hopkins added electronic safety products from Design Tech, Inc. which formed the basis for the company’s award winning back up camera technology. In 2008, Hopkins established an Innovation Design Center (IDC) in Los Angeles to focus on developing new product categories. Over the next several years, the IDC facilitated the entry into the Booster Cable market with Juice™ and Sun Protection and Floor Mats under the GoGear® brand.
As Hopkins expanded, so did its Operations footprint, including a manufacturing facility in Juarez, Mexico, the electrical sub-assembly capital of North America to support our Towing Electrical business; a marketing office in Los Angeles to support our cleaning business; and establishing a supply and logistics office in Ningbo, China to support local manufacturing and supply chain effectiveness.
Since 2011, Hopkins has broadened and strengthened its position in the aftermarket with important acquisitions.
In addition to a robust acquisition platform, Hopkins has driven organic growth through award winning product innovation, development of a strong category management capability and by attracting recognized brand partners through licensing. This includes two brands with Church & Dwight with the ARM & HAMMER™ brand fueling the company’s growth in automotive air fresheners and OXICLEAN™ for automotive interior and exterior appearance chemical and tools. Other notable brand partners include Rain-X®, Body Glove®, DGA™ – David Gonzales Art, Mossy Oak®, NeverWet®, National Breast Cancer Foundation® and Breast Cancer Society of Canada™.
With each of our brands, including acquired and licensed brands, we continue to build on this legacy of our founders by leveraging The Image of Difference to make everything we do better than it had been done before.
Hopkins has developed a keen understanding of every market we participate in. Our ever-growing range of trusted consumer brands continues to meet and exceed customer expectations
The ARM & HAMMER trademarks are owned by Church & Dwight Co., Inc., and are used by Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation under license.
The OXICLEAN trademarks are owned by Church & Dwight Co., Inc., and are used by Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation under license.
The Mossy Oak logo and trademarks are the licensed property of Haas Outdoors, Inc. and are used under license by Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation.
The Rain-X trademarks are licensed property owned by Illinois Tool Works, Inc.
The Body Glove logo and trademarks are the licensed property of Body Glove International, LLC, and are used under license by Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation.
The DGA logo and David Gonzales Art are the trademarks of DGA Tees, Inc. and are used under license by Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation.
Proud partner/sponsor of National Breast Cancer Foundation.