Forty years ago, as a freshly minted college graduate, I interviewed for a job at a small family-owned publishing company in Milwaukee.

Just 22 years old and desperate for a regular paycheck, I accepted a position selling advertising space for the firm’s two magazines. One of those publications was Sanitary Maintenance magazine.

Like most people, I had never heard of the janitorial supply industry or was exposed to the myriad products necessary to keep the nation’s buildings sanitary and clean. Nor was I aware of the important role that distributors played in bringing these necessary products to market and providing the skilled training for their effective use.

What I thought would be just a temporary stint turned into a career — and then a passion.

For the next 15 years, I traveled the country as one of the faces of Sanitary Maintenance magazine. I spent time with both distributors and manufacturers alike. I was proud of the valuable business-building information presented in each issue of our monthly magazine.

As I met with manufacturers, I was excited to offer them suggestions on product messaging, as well as developing marketing communications programs to help them build brand and product awareness.

In the office, I regularly saw Harry Apple who played a key role in the formation of the National Sanitary Supply Association (now ISSA) and also founded Sanitary Maintenance. However, I really worked for his son, Bob Apple, who offered me the opportunity to learn all facets of the publishing business. Bob further developed the magazine into the leading publication for the sanitary supply industry.

In 1988, a colleague and I approached the Apple family about buying the business, which included Sanitary Maintenance. By scraping together the funds we had, securing outside investors and taking on plenty of debt, we began the next chapter of this venerable publication.

In ensuing years, we expanded our coverage of the commercial cleaning industry with separate magazines for the building service contractor (Contracting Profits) and for in–house cleaning management (Housekeeping Solutions). As the Internet became a viable channel of information distribution, Trade Press launched in 1997.

This month, we celebrate the 70th Anniversary of our firm’s oldest media brand: Sanitary Maintenance.

My thanks go out to our loyal readers and advertising customers. We’re also indebted to the hundreds of Trade Press employees — past and present — who have contributed their energy and talents to this important publication.




Bob Wisniewski

President, CEO & Owner • Trade Press Media Group, Inc.