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|Empire Plastic Covers (1959–1965)|
Empire Home Services (1965–2002)
Northlake, Illinois United States
|Parent||H.I.G. Capital (2016–present)|
Empire Today, LLC is a Northlake, Illinois-based home improvement and home furnishing company, specializing in installed carpet, flooring, and window treatments. The company operates in more than 75 metropolitan areas in the United States. Empire Today was founded in 1959 by Seymour Cohen in partnership with Jonathan Samuel Beute.
Empire Today was named the country's #1 or #2 Specialty Flooring Retailer (in total dollar amount of sales) from 2007 to 2010 by Floor Covering Weekly.
Empire Today LLC (commonly referred as Empire Today) was founded by entrepreneur Seymour Cohen in 1959 as Empire Plastic Covers, a private, family-owned business in Chicago from a small office space. Cohen decided to expand the company's product line in response to growing customer request. In 1965, Empire Plastic Covers changed its name to Empire Home Services, adding carpet to their product line. Over the years, Empire's product line grew, as did the company's national presence. In November 2002, the company was sold and then in December 2002, adopted its current name: Empire Today.
Empire Today's advertising is prevalent in areas serviced by the company, throughout major urban areas across North America. The company's prominent television and web ads feature the recognizable "Empire Man" character.
The "Empire Man" was introduced in 1978 as a live action character and later adapted into a popular animated person that has grown to become a cultural icon. The "Empire Man" has been seen internationally in commercials and other media, has spawned a line of collectible bobblehead dolls and inspired the Chicago Cubs to declare an official "Empire Day" at Wrigley Field in 2007.
The "Empire Man" was portrayed on television by Lynn Hauldren, a former ad executive, from 1978 through 2011. After Empire Today retired the live character in favor of a computer-animated version, Hauldren continued to provide voiceovers for the ads until his death in 2011. Some of the commercials with his voice are still airing.
Contrary to popular belief, the "Empire Man" was not the company's owner nor was he one of the installers. In the late 1970s, Hauldren was one of the advertising copywriting forces behind the Empire brand. The company's owner during the time requested that he serve as the on-air talent for the spots after unsuccessfully auditioning several other people for the role. Hauldren also wrote and recorded the tune used as the company's famous jingle.
Empire Today's advertising jingle, which has been broadcast since 1977, is a widely recognized theme. The jingle is simply a small mixed gender vocal group singing out the digits of the telephone number. The original Chicago-centered version was only the seven-digit number:
- "588-2300, Em-pire!"
As the chain expanded nationally in 2000 (though it was first used in Chicago in 1996 to compensate for the Chicago area's surge in area codes from just 312 to the current nine, beginning in 1989, and just after the suburban 708/847 1996 split), the same tune was used, but with an 800 number prefix added for the company's toll-free number:
- "800-588-2300, Em-pire!"
After changing its name to Empire Today on December 23, 2002, the new name was added to the jingle, which resulted in a sped-up version of the song so "Today" could be included. Starting in 2003, the jingle reverted to the original, but with the Empire Man saying "today" at the end ("800-588-2300, Em-pire Today!").
Empire Carpet recycling program
In 2011, Empire Today implemented a carpet and padding recycling program to minimize the environmental impact of their day-to-day operations. All of the padding removed by Empire Today's installers that can be recycled, will be recycled as part of their program in cooperation with Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) and Carpet Landfill Elimination And Recycling (CLEAR). In first quarter 2011, Empire piloted the program in select areas, and the program is currently operational in more than 25 of Empire's service areas. Since the program's inception, over eight million pounds of carpet and padding have been recycled, according to Empire's waste tonnage reporting.
- "Top 50 Retailers 2010". Floor Covering Weekly. 2010. p. 6. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
- "Empire Today's icon character 'Empire Man' celebrates 30th anniversary". Weatherford Democrat. 2007-07-18. Archived from the original on 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
- "Empire Today Honored at Historic Wrigley Field - Chicago Cubs Declare "Empire Day"". Home Renovation Guide. 2007-08-17. Archived from the original on 2009-06-20. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
- "Chicagoland Memories". Lisa's Web World. Retrieved 2 March 2006.
- "About Us". Empire Today, LLC. Retrieved 31 July 2008.
- "Empire Carpet Recycling". Empire Today Recycling Program. Retrieved 2019-04-20.