HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—Alliance Rubber Co.'s history is a testament to the American Dream.
What started in a garage from hand-cut, factory reject inner tubes in Alliance, Ohio, has become the last U.S. rubber band company remaining in America that's been "holding your world together for 100 years."
Bonnie Spencer Swayze is president of the company, now based in Hot Springs, Ark., taking over the business from her father William Spencer, who started the company at the age of 32 in 1923.
The company, which officially celebrated its 100th anniversary on March 7, stretches into its fourth generation, Swayze said. She and her siblings, Richard, Wanda and Suzie, make up the second generation of the company.
Swayze grew up working for the business since the sixth grade, working every afternoon and Saturdays. After three months of college, she began working full time at Alliance in the fall of 1971.
"We've always been workers," she said. "We've always been expected to produce in our family."
The third generation includes Richard's daughters Michelle Spencer Hitt and Brandi Spencer McAlpine.
And Michelle's daughter Morgan, a "great golfer" who graduated from Arkansas Tech, starts off the fourth generation as she pursues her master's degree while interning at Alliance on the weekends.
"It's important that family members get outside experience in other businesses to know what the real world is like," Swayze said, adding that it is important to build experience against adversity in the "vicious and brutal" business environment.
Because adventuring into the real world is at the core of Alliance's founding.