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100 years and counting…In the beginning, 1913, the partnership of Siegfried R. Fanta and Richard Pollak brought the all-cotton elastic bandage to the U.S.A. from Germany and formed The Tetra Company. The company located at 350 N. Clark Street; Chicago, Illinois in Room 213. The number 4 in the circle became the trademarked company logo adopted from the Greek definition of the word “tetra”. 

The Fanta/Pollak partnership continued until 1945 when Ernest Pollak being the sole surviving relative took over the business. Over the years the business fell on hard times and Ernest Pollak surrendered the business to his lawyer, Joseph Kotz, in payment of his legal fees.

Joseph Kotz incorporated The Tetra Company in the state of Illinois on October 1, 1953.

Mr. Kotz hired James Shier in April of 1963 as his assistant. Jim’s duties included ordering inventory, order taking, order filling, shipping, invoicing and going on sales calls with Mr. Kotz. Shortly thereafter, Jay Hearst, looking for a new business opportunity approached Joe Kotz to buy him out over a period of years.

Product wise, from 1913 to the early 1950’s the all-cotton Tetra bandage was the only product of The Tetra Company.  By 1964 we had three lines of rubber-reinforced elastic bandages as well as the all-cotton. Rib belts led the way for other orthopedic soft-good products. Anti-embolism stockings came shortly after and in the 70’s it seemed like we had something new every month, some successful, others not so much. Our main focus has always been elastic bandages as we continue to improve weaves, closures, lengths and packaging.

By 1965 we outgrew our space at 350 N. Clark and had a new 2500 square foot building constructed at 2744 N. Southport Avenue in Chicago. 

Jay Hearst’s buy-out was complete in January of 1968 and Mr. Kotz left the business. The size of the business now made it necessary to have a full time clerical person so Jay Hearst asked Jim if I would be interested in coming in to answer the phone. I started at Tetra on February 1, 1968. 

During 1969 we outgrew the Southport building and we moved to 2850 N. Lincoln Avenue, also in Chicago. The initial structure was 7500 square feet which was expanded to 9000 square feet as we grew.

In 1976, Jay Hearst moved his family to Boulder, Colorado and found it difficult to deal with the growing pains from that distance. By that time we had a staff of five outside salespeople as well as five full time inside people. Jim was vice president and I was the controller so we took the next logical step when Jay wanted to sell and offered to buy him out. The sale was complete in December of 1977.

In 1983, once again growth necessitated a move to our present building at 6364 W. Gross Point Road in Niles, Illinois. Although our children have worked on and off with us since 1977, James, Jr., who we call J.R., came to work permanently in 1983 when we moved to Niles. He has learned the business from the ground up and now serves as our President. Jim Shier, Sr. retired in 1998 but continues to be available as a consultant. 

In May of 1992 we changed the company name to Tetra Medical Supply Corp. to more closely identify ourselves with the market that we serve. 

I currently hold the title of Chairman of the Board and Chief Financial Officer. We have been certified as a woman owned business for many years. Presently, we are certified by the state of Illinois and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Counsel.

Our employees are the most valuable asset of our company. We are a small, close knit group that continues to grow the business with team work, great customer service and a family atmosphere. We hope that you enjoy our new catalog and refurbished website which was put together with input from all of us. And we thank you for the opportunity to be of service to you and your organization.

Constance A. Shier




6364 West Gross Point Road   Niles, Illinois   60714        1-800-621-4041

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