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Cole-Parmer is a scientific and industrial instrument distributor located at 625 E. Bunker CT, Vernon Hills, Illinois.


Jerry Cole and John Parmer founded Cole-Parmer in 1955 and took up shop in a 1,200-square-foot (110 m2) loft on West Illinois Street in downtown Chicago.

One of the largest contributions of Cole-Parmer made to the industry was in the marketing and advertising. The Cole-Parmer catalog was the first in 4-color at a time when most catalogs were still black and white. This change made the business an industry leader within the direct mail business model.

The company’s steady growth allowed Cole-Parmer to expand to a 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) location in 1960, and to a 47,000-square-foot (4,400 m2) facility eight years later. That same year, Cole-Parmer acquired Masterflex® peristaltic pumps, followed shortly by the purchases of Gilmont® Instruments and Manostat® Pumps.

They were acquired by Fisher Scientific, now Thermo-Fisher Scientific, in 2001

On July 17, 2014, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. agreed to sell one of its lab units, Cole-Parmer, to private-equity firm GTCR for $480 million in cash. The company has previously said its $13.6 billion acquisition of Life Technologies Corp. would allow it to cut costs while gaining from next-generation genetic-sequencing machines. It has also sought to expand in Asia-Pacific markets.[1]

Business Model[edit]

Domestically, Cole-Parmer operates primarily as a business-to-business distributor. Demand is generated through the publication of a bi-annual general catalog and a number of specialogs. Sales are conducted through inbound calls, direct internet transactions, and direct sales. They recently[when?] began offering some products on

Internationally, Cole-Parmer distributes product through company owned offices in Montreal, Canada, Shanghai, China, London, England and Mumbai, India. The balance of international sales are through partnerships with independent dealers throughout the globe. Sales are conducted through outside sales and Internet transactions.

Product Offering[edit]

Cole-Parmer offers a variety of consumable and durable products. Many of their products are related to fluid-handling or electrochemistry. Cole-Parmer also offers calibration and instrument repairs.