Our History

Our History

In 1964, Milt Saffelle finished his education and football career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His wife Jean Saffelle worked for a property management company at the time. They needed someone to clean newly constructed buildings before tenants moved into them. Milt took on the task and the early stages of Saffelle, Inc had begun. It grew quickly and demand grew with other builders as well. So much so, that Milt needed to hire a crew to manage the work. UNC students worked after classes on job sites and Jean Saffelle took on setting up appointments, billing and payroll duties. The business began taking on custodial duties at night for several buildings on UNC campus, along with Doctors offices, Libraries, and some textile plants, for example. The business was very unique at the time for North Carolina. It grew so much that in 1971 Milt decided to make a change and sell the cleaning business and use the proceeds to start a distribution business.

Old school Saffelle in van

Milt and Jean started the distribution business by themselves in a 1500 sq ft building they leased on West Franklin Street in Chapel Hill (Currently “Local 506”). Milt was a one man sales force with Jean handling finances. Mostly operating in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area, Milt would work an area, hire a new sales representative to manage the territory, then move to a different area and do the same thing. The business continued to grow. They moved to a new 3,000 sq ft building a couple years later on Graham St in Chapel Hill (Currently “The Baxter” bar and arcade). Then in 1977 they were ready to build their own facility. On land they had purchased, Saffelle, Inc resided on Hwy 54 in Carrboro from 1977-2004 where it grew from 6,000 sq ft to 22,000 sq ft. During this time the sales force continued to grow and Saffelle, Inc covered a majority of the state of NC.

In 2004, Saffelle, Inc was completely destroyed by fire on Hwy 54. Milt and Jean were immediately able to find and purchase our current 35,000 sq ft facility in Hillsborough, NC. Having developed a true partnership with our key vendors allowed us to immediately start anew within the week of the fire. The support Saffelle, Inc. received from customers, friends, and neighbors throughout North Carolina was amazing. Saffelle, Inc. never missed a beat. Saffelle, Inc continues to have steady growth in the state of NC.

Milt and Jean have created a true family operation. Sons, Mark and Chris and daughter Jeanine have all been and are currently involved in the management of Saffelle, Inc. The Saffelle, Inc family also extends to our present and past sales force and staff to make what Saffelle, Inc. is today.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our history. “Partnering with a Passion” truly exemplifies what Milt and Jean created and grew over the past 59 years with their businesses. They have always passionately developed and maintained their partnerships through communication, training and quality products. We take great pride in those attributes and look forward to continuing to build on those with you, our partner, for years to come.