Walt Snow Founds Verax
Circa 1909, Walt Snow founded Verax in Oregon. In 1913 he moved the company North to the rapidly growing City of Seattle.
Not much is know about the early years of Verax, only that the principal maintenance products of the time were hog bristle floor brushes, sweeping compound, cresol (sheep dip) disinfectant, deodorants, and insecticides. The above photos shows drums of product being loaded onto trucks circa 1924.
1924 was also the year Verax officially incorporated with the State of Washington. Of the 3900 filings that year, only 30 corporations still exist today.
Don M. Finrow Acquires Verax
In the 1950s, the city was widening the street and taking the Verax building. After two generations, the founding family was ready to move on.
In 1957 Don M. Finrow, who had been a manufacture’s rep in the maintenance supplies industry since 1937, purchased Verax and moved the company to his building in the University District (above).
Starting in the 1950s, Verax manufactured a wide variety of wet mops, yacht mops, dust mops, and lambs wool finish applicators. During the 80s, more sophisticated equipment was added to manufacture fantail mops.
By the early 2000s, the mop business was wound down due to slowing sales and competition from imported mops.
Seattleites favorite late night burger joint, Dick’s Drive-In, is founded in 1954 and starts using Verax products to clean their iconic restaurants. While the Verax business model has changed over the years, Dick’s remains Verax’s oldest customer and a beloved member of the family.
1955 - Coco Matting
Verax begins importing coco matting for the paving and marine industries as well as door mats.
Coco Mats are made out of coir – the course fibers that come from ground up coconut husks.
Today, Verax continues to supply the marine industry with coco mats for fish processing.
Radium Hand Soap Co. Acquisition
In 1960 Verax acquired local manufacturer, Radium Hand Soap Company. Radium had numerous hand soap products including powdered hand soaps, heavy duty gelled and waterless formulas – using wood fibers, pumice or corn meal as abrasives.
Verax has moved away from most of these, but their Corn Meal Powdered Hand Soap (CMP) remains in the line as a fan favorite.
1971 - A Family Affair
Don’s youngest daughter, Julie Curkendall, joined the company in 1971. She was joined by her husband, Brian, and assumed management in 1980 on the passing of her father. Julie’s sister, Sue Copeland, re-joined the Company in 1988, managing the facility and chemical manufacturing until her passing in 2013.
Sue Copeland (Left) and Julie Curkendall (Right)
1972 - A Change of Scenery
After a lengthy court battle over Urban Renewal and the U-District location, Verax moved 20 miles to the Northeast. Now in the Maltby area of Snohomish county, Verax took up residence on 15 acres with 14,000 sq. ft. of office, warehouse, and manufacturing space.
Henry Butler Co. Acquisition
In 2000, Julie and Brian purchased the assets of long time Seattle Master Distributor, Henry Butler Co. From the assets they formed HB Wholesale, Inc., HB continued to serve as a Master Distributor from its University District location until 2012 when it moved in with Verax. In an effort to reduce overhead and duplicate work, HB was merged with Verax in 2020.
Verax continues to serve as master distributor for a number of quality manufacturers. Learn more about them here.
The Third Generation
2012 brought Brian and Julie’s younger son, Warren Curkendall to the company as a blending technician – learning the formulas and processes from day one before moving onto other areas of the company.
Warren standing in a new 1,100 Gallon batch tank.
Dynacco, Inc. Acquisition
2016 brought the most significant change to Verax in decades. Long time friends and customers, John and Sharel Dyer approached Julie and Warren to purchase their company, Dynacco, Inc. Dynacco’s assets were acquired in late 2016.
Their Dyna-Wipes® product became the best selling product overnight and continues to be Verax’s fastest growing product. Dynacco also brought a line of industrial and food grade aerosol cleaners and lubricants including Dyna Buster® Penetrating Lubricant.
2020 brought a laundry list of challenges to our industry. Verax responded with Dyna-Wipes IPA®, a 70% Isopropyl Alcohol wipe.
Later in the year, Warren became the majority shareholder and took on the role of President.
Verax continues to manufacture and supply a wide variety of high quality maintenance chemicals and accessories with an emphasis on private label.
Verax believes in supporting small business and continues to support customers, whether they have one locations or 500. It should get easier to do business with your vendors and partners, not harder.