In 1930, at the age of 17, Patrick Zurla was going from one factory to another in search of work in Chicago. He walked into a Punchboard Company named Harlich MFG. He was hired to sweep floors by the owner Leo. After a few years, Patrick found some investor/partners and started his own Punchboard Company, Blackhawk MFG. Blackhawk was the beginning of many buyouts and mergers of board companies that finally became Gibson Specialty Corp. That manufacturing plant was located at 2222 S. Michigan Ave. Patrick however, saw that punchboards alone were not enough to keep up in this marketplace, so he started a separate company called Zurla Sales, Inc. and it would sell Pull-Tabs and Bingo supplies.
Pull-Tabs were a brand new invention. Quickly other companies started making tabs and the industry grew, and so did Z.S.I. Zurla’s daughter Joanni left college to join her dad in the business and shortly after that her husband Michael Kric left his music career to first, manage and run Gibson Specialty’s MFG plant in the mid ‘80’s. Patrick sold Gibson Specialty in 1992 and wanted Joanni and Michael to continue the Zurla Sales tradition. In 1998 Patrick retired and in 2002 he passed away at the age of 89. Mike and Joanni moved the business to 3012 n Clybourn Ave., a building they purchased in 1999 and have an office staff, a shipping staff, and salespeople on the road all year long. Mike has been able to make customized products for his customers and give the service and attention he wants. Z.S.I. serves customers large and small. They carry over 1000 different items and can get any item in the industry.
Mikes father, Robert Kric, is a WWII decorated veteran who served in the 2nd infantry. He was in the Normandy Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. His father’s service record was Michael’s first step to his lifelong patriotism. Zurla Sales, Inc. has always served all the non-profit organizations, however the elder Kric’s battle record has affected the entire company and therefore the VFW’s are held in very high esteem. “We take our relationship with the VFW’s very seriously.” In fact, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Z.S.I. donated 100 cases of product to VFW groups across the country. As Z.S.I. looks to the future, they will always remember the past, the customers that have been loyal, and the person-to-person service that they have always been known for.