May 20, 2024
The Legacy of Richard T. Farmer

The Legacy of Richard T. Farmer

American businessman and creator of Cintas, Richard T. Farmer died this year, leaving a legacy of hard work, success, and growth.

Today, Cintas is known around the nation as the leading uniform rental company and a company that offers several cleaning supplies to organizations that use them every day. You can’t go to a business and not see a Cintas logo on something that’s being used, This is truly the legacy of Farmer and the organization he built.

While leaving a lasting legacy, the beginning of his success did not come as easy as some might think.

Working in the Family Business

During his childhood, through high school, and into college, Farmer worked in the family business. The business called Acme Wiper and Industrial Laundry was owned by his father. It was here that he learned the value of hard work and focus, which would serve him well during his entire life. The business of cleaning uniforms, handling dry cleaning needs, and processing laundry for the area was one that served him well to give him the foundation needed to build his business and career going forward.

From High School to a Furthered Education

Richard T. Farmer earned his Bachelor of Arts in Business from Miami University, in Oxford, OH, in 1956. He was a member of a fraternity during college and chose to serve in the military upon graduation, entering the United States Marine Corps. Not long after entering the service, he was honorably discharged, at which time he moved home to work full-time in the family business, which is where this story truly begins.

Passing on the Legacy

In 1959, Farmer’s father chose to retire from work and transferred the operation of the business to Richard. The company name was changed to Acme Uniform and Towel Supply, which showed this business was growing and expanding to serve more areas. By 1966, Richard had grown the company to $1.8 million in revenue, which certainly was something that made his father proud that his legacy would continue onward and grow with his son.

A New Company Was Formed

It was quite obvious that Richard T. Farmer was a successful businessman, but he took the risk and next step to build an empire by creating a new company in 1968. This new company was Satellite Corporation which was a company made to provide a centralized distribution system and develop smaller uniform plants in major cities across the country. This company soon grew to be larger than the original one passed down from father to son.

By 1973, Satellite acquired Acme and then became known as Cintas. Ten years later, Cintas was so large that it became a company that was traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange. This story continues with the growth and success of a company that we all know today as the company that provides uniforms and cleaning supplies to other companies with daily deliveries of the necessary equipment for employees and customers to use.

From Negative to Positive

So far, the story of Richard T.Farmer seems to be one of quick success through hard work. Success wasn’t always the case for Cintas or for the two companies that were brought together to create this company. Farmer took this company from a negative net worth of $34,000 into a Fortune500 company with annual sales of $3.8 billion.

The Current Market of Cintas

Why are we so familiar with this brand and the company? Today, Cintas works with more than 800,000 clients around the country. They are now the nation’s leading corporate provider of uniforms, entrance mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, first aid supplies, safety products, fire protection services, and document management services.

Farmer’s Role at Cintas

As you would expect, Richard T. Farmer served as CEO of the corporation from 1968 until 1995, at which time he passed the CEO role to his successor. Farmer also served as Chairman of the company from 1968 until he retired in 2009. When he retired, he took on the role of Chairman Emeritus and continued to be on the board of directors until his death this year.

A Legacy Beyond the Boardroom

Not only was Farmer the founder, CEO, and Chairman of Cintas through his business ventures but he was also involved in many other activities. He was among the fifteen largest fundraisers for the 2000 election of George W. Bush, helping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in donations for the Republican Party.

Richard T. Farmer was also the author of the book “Rags to Riches” which is a story of success, growth, hard work, and building a business that started as a small laundry service in Ohio. Farmer was also a director for Fifth Third Bancorp, which was a Midwest income investment company. This was only one of the positions he held in the finance sector.

Honoring the Man Who Built Cintas

The 1995 Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year was Richard T. Farmer, and he was also inducted into the Greater Cincinnati Business Hall of Fame in 1996. Later, Farmer was honored by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber as one of the Great Living Cincinnatians, which was certainly an honor he was proud to be awarded. Without a doubt, you can see that Farmer took the legacy that was passed on by his father and grew it into a corporation that is recognized around the country today.

Farmer Passed Away in August

This year, in August, Richard T. Farmer passed away. He left a legacy that is going to serve the community and country for many years to come. Along with his business ventures, his awards, and his involvement in fundraising, he also served as a member and chair of the board of directors at Miami University in Ohio. He donated money to create the Farmer School of Business, which is one of the best business schools in the United States.

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