For the Attman family, paper is the past, present and the future
The family has owned and operated Acme Paper & Supply Co., Inc. for almost 70 years, spanning three generations of family.
“We all grew up in the business,” said David Attman.
“It was sort of like your bar mitzvah present, you would get to go to work,” added Ron Attman.
Ron and David, along with their brother, Steven, are all vice presidents at Acme. Their father, Edward, founded the business in 1946 with his wife, Mildred, after he returned from serving in the Army during World War II. Edward’s father and mother operated Attman’s deli on Lombard Street in downtown Baltimore, working what Edward described as “never-ending days,” while his mother wanted her son to try something else. He decided to give paper a shot.
“It never spoils, it doesn’t get out of shape and it never goes out of style. People will always need paper products,” said Edward Attman, who at 94 is still a major part of the company’s operations. “It made sense.”
The Attmans founded the company in a garage in downtown Baltimore. Acme specialized in paper towels, toilet paper, napkins and butchers’ meat wrapping paper. They worked mostly with delis, drugstores and small corner stores. In the 1960s, they started making headway in the health care business, manufacturing cleaning equipment and accessories, a business that they have continued to make advances in in the years following.
“That was a big turning point for our business,” said Ron. From health care, the company began venturing into stadiums and hotels. Kitchen equipment, which makes up its own division at Acme, is one of their fastest-growing areas, said the family.
When the green movement began, stressing reusables over disposables and electronic records over paper receipts, the Attmans adapted.
“It’s been a big opportunity,” said Ron of the rise of environmentalism.
“You wouldn’t think so, right?” added Steven.
When the U.S. House of Representatives was looking for American-made renewable products a few years ago, they looked to Acme. The company has even launched green options for each of their divisions and consults with customers on how to become more environmentally friendly.
Most recently, the company has landed contracts as the provider for Maryland Live! Casino. Acme provides sanitation equipment and branded disposable products to the casino, as well as the rights to designing and building some of the venue’s restaurants.
On any given day, visitors can find eight Attmans at the company’s corporate headquarters in Savage.
“Not only do we work together, but we play together,” said David. In many ways, each day in the office is like a mini-family reunion. “Not a lot of families can do that,” he added.
Each of the brothers is a graduate of the University of Maryland and Talmudical Academy and lives in Pikesville. Big football and baseball fans, they often attend Maryland, Ravens and Orioles games together, and when they’re not working or attending games, they like to play golf together, all the while talking about business, of course.
The Attmans aren’t the only family at Acme, either. One of the aspects of their business they’re most proud of is the number of employees they have who are relatives, with brothers and sisters or fathers and sons working side by side.
“I think that’s a great compliment, that people would bring their families here,” said Ron.