BIO-CAT launched in 1988 out of Ed Schuler’s house and Brian Huffman’s barn. They started with one
small blender and a few exhaust fans on the wall to control the dust. The first blender ran constantly as it only held about 20 kilograms – quite different from the two-ton blenders that they have today.
Ed was the “science guy” with the business contacts; his son, Chris managed sales, finance and customer service; and Brian was in charge of purchasing, blending and packaging. Before they had a shipping department in place, Chris would haul products to meet trucks and tractor trailers on the highway in order to ship our products to customers.
Back then, testing wasn’t required on blended products. Now all products are meticulously tested.
“It was The Wild West before”, said Chris. “In the dietary supplement industry everyone used units per gram but no one knew what the units were. Some products said 2,000,000 units per gram on their label and some said 100,000 units per gram. However, 2,000,000 wasn’t necessarily better than 100,000 even though it sounded better.”
BIO-CAT sought assistance from the Enzyme Technical Association (ETA) and asked for a published unit activity book in order to clarify each type of unit being used in the industry. “We brought science to the dietary supplement industry by shaping the units of measure. We helped bring about standards and began following the Food Chemical Codex (FCC). We tested products and brought validity to our customer’s products” said Chris.
The vision from the beginning was to provide exceptional customer service, high quality enzymes and same day or next day shipping services. Whenever the 24-hour rule was violated, the team would ship the products via air the very next day, even if it meant losing money. “It was our rule and that’s what we promised to our customers,” said Chris.
Keeping customers happy is the most important aspect of the business, which is why BIO-CAT still has the same customers today that they had from the very beginning.
Ed Schuler’s Story
Ed Schuler was first introduced to enzymes in the most unlikely of places – a brewery. Early in his career, he was a certified brewmaster at Schaefer Brewery, which used enzymes to make beer. Following this role, Ed took a position as an international product manager at Baxter Laboratories where he handled all of their enzymes.
In 1979, Ed started International Enzyme Company from a barn in his backyard in New Hampshire. He purchased enzymes from Amano Pharmaceutical- Japan, which his son, Chris, jarred while he was still in high school. Ed, being the innovator that he is, was responsible for bringing lactase to the U.S. dietary supplement industry in the 1970’s. The following year Ed met with Mr. Amano and the three with Boheringer Ingelheim formed Amano International Enzyme Company. In 1985, Amano purchased Boheringer’s and Ed’s shares of stock, though Ed remained President of the company until he resigned a few years later and started BIO-CAT.
In 1991, Ed purchased Amano’s 26-acre parcel of land in Louisa County, Virginia when the company relocated to Chicago. BIO-CAT’s headquarters have been here ever since.
How BIO-CAT Got Its Name?
The name BIO-CAT came about after tossing around a bunch of ideas but inevitably always coming back to the fact that an enzyme is a biocatalyst. The word was shortened, hyphenated and capitalized to create a stronger, easier to remember moniker.
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