In business circles, it can be said successful companies are those that can reinvent themselves, adapt to new times and create a new corporate environment.
Established 66 years ago by Walter Cherry in the basement of a Highland Park, Ill., property, his company has continued to evolve through the years. Cherry, 5732 95th Ave., in the Business Park of Kenosha, is the North American headquarters of a global brand located in Germany.
Cherry Americas was sold to ZF Friedrichshafen, a billion dollar company. In 2016 ZF sold Cherry to a private equity company. The company is now known as Cherry.
Long-respected for its keyboards and electronic input devices, Cherry also makes its own branded devices as well as being an original equipment manufacturer for such companies are Hewlett-Packard and technology products distributor CDW. It also has a strong presence in the gaming industry.
Greg Peterson, the company’s general manager, estimates 25 percent of Cherry’s business comes from its OEM customers.
Spreading its wings
Under new ownership, Cherry, like the mythical phoenix, is spreading its business wings again and is rebranding.
Since Peterson joined Cherry in 2017, the company has moved into a new building, expanded its distributorship base and formed more partnerships, important components in the company’s growth. Cherry now is more flexible, faster moving and innovative.
The company is expanding into new markets that Peterson believes will open the way for new growth. Cherry’s most recent growth has come from new products in its traditional markets and the introduction of products.
“We’re looking to expanding the brand awareness in the office, healthcare, education and security markets,” he explained.
The move, he noted, has already produced some positive financial performance for the privately held company.
Over the past year, the company has come out with new products and looks to roll out another set of new products within the next six months. Some have been wireless input devices for the Apple iMAC, the iPhone and iPad and for other platforms. The focus has been on desktop devices.
Peterson said that Cherry enjoyed 20 percent year-over-year growth in 2018 and is on pace to continue that level of growth through its expansion into input and point-of-sale devices such as card readers, specialty keyboards and scanners for those industries.
The office market
The office market, he explained, offers many opportunities because of the need for devices for billing, organizing, cataloging and other functions that companies and governmental agencies perform.
Another area that offers significant growth opportunities is the security industry. Companies are constantly seeking data security solutions.
“We’re (for now) a small piece of the evolving technology,” Peterson explained. However, that is expected to change soon.
Through this process, Cherry has added three new sales personnel and now operates with a staff of 20 at its corporate headquarters.
With new markets and a mission, “The world’s our Cherry,” said company market analyst Vickie Ellis.