Armaly Brands got its start in the Bahamas in the early 1900's when W.J. Armaly began harvesting, processing and shipping natural ocean sponges around the world. When W.J.'s son John W. Armaly immigrated to the United States, he opened a packing plant on Iron Street in Detroit and began selling natural sponges, marking the birth of the Armaly Sponge Company in the United States.
The Company experienced steady growth over the years, gaining nationwide distribution in variety and hardware stores, as well as gas stations and with automobile manufacturers. In 1926, the Ford Motor Company and the S.S. Kresge Company were added to the company's growing list of customers. John Armaly and Henry Ford (who referred to John as "Spongy"), traded bales of natural sponges for cars at Ford's Highland Park plant.
A lunch with Sebastian S. Kresge at the local hamburger grill usually resulted in a debate: "Why spend an extra penny for a slice of cheese?" was a favorite topic. During the depression, Armaly accepted K-Script from Kresge as payment for goods shipped to Kresge stores. Armaly's employees received the script as part of their pay and would use it to buy goods and services at Kresge stores.
During World War II, John received a reserve commission in the U.S. Navy, where he supervised the building of harbor security skiffs at the company's Riverside packing plant turned boat yard in Florida. Support during the war years came in many forms, including the sales of Lofah sponges for use as filters on submarines.
The end of the war brought with it change. E.I. Dupont introduced the cellulose sponge as an incentive for consumers to buy its "No.7 Car Wax," while the infamous red tide hit the sponge beds in the Caribbean virtually wiping out the natural sponge industry in the United States. Buffeted by these events, Armaly contracted its business, focusing only on its closest and best customers for many years.
In the early sixties, Armaly Sponge Company began distribution of a new type of sponge developed by the Simonize Company at their Benton Harbor, Mich. plant. Formulated from polyester resins to clean like a natural ocean sponge, the product soon ranked No.1 in institutional markets. When Simonize began distribution in grocery stores under the brand "SaniSoft," Armaly began selling to variety and discount retailers under the brand "Estracell."
In 1972, John's children began joining the company as Armaly became both a distributor and fabricator of master blocks supplied by Simonize and Scott Papers, Foam Division. Rapid growth forced three physical moves in as many years until 1979 when the company acquired the Simonize Polyester Sponge plant. In 1983, both the Detroit and Benton Harbor facilities were consolidated into the company's current home in Walled Lake, Mich.
Today, Armaly Brands products are the choice of more than two thirds of consumer and professional buyers who prefer polyester sponges. The Estracell® and AutoShow® brands lead their segments with market share of over 75% and 50% respectively. The Armaly ProPlus® brand is the leader in the traditional DIY base, which enjoys a 35% market share. Armaly Brands continues its impressive growth, with recent distribution expansions and additions to its brand portfolio. In 2010 Armaly Brands acquired Brillo®, the world's most recognized cleaning brand, and continued its history of innovation with the introduction of a new line of Brillo® Estracell® …More Sanitary! products.