Category: About Acme Sponge Company

ACME Sponge Company was founded in 1938 by Michael G. Cantonis. Acme Sponge offers a variety of natural sea sponge and cleaning related products. It is headquartered in Tarpon Springs, Florida, which is arguably the sponge diving center of the United States. We pride ourselves on the quality of the materials we use and the products we offer; “the finest products from the finest materials in the world.”

Sponge and Chamois News and Issues

Below is a list of sponge and chamois news and issues related articles. These articles relate to our products, industry and interests. We hope you find them as interesting and informative as we do.

 

09/2017 –  Tarpon Springs sponge company goes back to family roots

Acme Sponge and Chamois Co. in Tarpon Springs has sold its chamois business to Hopkins Manufacturing Corp…Acme will continue to operate its natural and synthetic sponge business as The Acme Sponge Company, which was not part of the transaction, a press release said.

“The chamois business was almost completely automotive in nature while the sponge business spans bath, cosmetic, paint, general cleaning and hardware. Hopkins focus is automotive. Chamois was a perfect fit for them,” Jim Cantonis, president of Acme, told Tampa Bay Business Journal. “We now take Acme Sponge back to our family roots.”…read more

 

05/2017 –  The More You NOAA: What Budget Cuts Mean for Florida’s Sponge Business

The Trump administration has proposed cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) budget that will have huge impacts on the economies of coastal communities. Growing up in Florida, I know that these cuts mean more to my community than numbers on a spreadsheet. For so many of my neighbors, from the commercial fisherman to the marine researcher, these cuts will impact how they make a living and provide for their families…read more

 

08/2016Dirty Microfiber and Plastic Fish

Although microfiber cloth and microbeads seemed to allow for a new generation of drying and scrubbing products, we are only now beginning to understand their impacts on our environment. These types of products are made from plastics or synthetic materials that are not biodegradable, but are small enough that they cannot be filtered out by existing water treatment systems. And, as a result, are eventually washed out into our lakes, rivers and oceans to become microplastic litter. The primary source of mircoplastic litter, the most prevalent of which is microfibers, are produced from washing synthetic or microfiber cloth…read more

 

12/2015Tarpon Springs Business Links its Success to Florida Sea Grant

Jim Cantonis is president of Acme Sponge and Chamois of Tarpon Springs, Fla., a successful processor and wholesaler of marine sponges and sheepskin chamois products sold around the world. Florida Sea Grant contributes to the company’s success by conducting research in the biology of marine sponges that helps ensure the sustainability of the commercial fishery…read more

 

10/2015Clean the Fleece, Dirty the Planet

It’s getting cold. Time to break out the fleece. Warm and light, it even comes in a nice shade of green: a lot of the material used to make fleece comes from recycled plastic bottles — better in your sweater than in a landfill.

Green that is, until you run it through the washing machine. That’s when thousands of plastic microfibers get flushed into the sewer system and on to some stream, lake, river and ocean…read more

 

08/2014Restoring Florida Bay: Sponges the foundation for thriving ecosystem

Prior to the 1990s the Florida Keys sponge community was a lively underwater city for fish and invertebrates. Curious divers could hear the snap, crackle and pop of snapping shrimp. The noisy bottom was a sign of health for the organisms that provide nursery habitat to juvenile marine species.
But now when divers plunge to the bottom, it’s as if the sponge community is on mute. There is no hustle and bustle of creatures foraging for their next meal, only silence…read more

 

08/2014Sponges: The Keys to the Keys
Where have all the sponges gone? Healthy sponge populations are an important part of the Florida Keys ecosystem. But a series of harmful algal blooms has essentially eliminated once thriving sponge communities over large areas of Florida Bay and the Keys. Can this critical habitat
recover? With Florida Sea Grant funding, researchers are now testing transplant techniques to see if they can accelerate the restoration process. Initial results are promising…read more

Acme Sponge and Chamois Community Outreach

As an industry leader in leather chamois and sea sponge production, Acme Sponge and Chamois Co remains committed to helping ensure healthy and sustainable fisheries, consumer protections and to giving back to the community. Toward those ends, our officers are active in organizations such as Florida Sea Grant, The National Institute of Weights and Measures and the Sponge and Chamois Institute. In addition we support our nation’s first responders by providing some of those in need with Sponges and Chamois to help keep critical equipment clean and maintained. We support educational programs related to aquaculture and are involved with our local Tarpon Springs community.

Acme Sponge and Chamois and Florida Sea Grant

Acme company officers are also involved on the board of directors of Florida Sea Grant and the Florida Oceans Alliance, groups dedicated to both research and information dissemination with the goal of having sustainable natural resources and healthy oceans that can be used by all constituent users from tourism to commercial fishing, sport fishing and boating interests.

Tarpon Springs Business Links its Success to Florida Sea Grant
Florida Sea Grant YouTube Channel
Florida Sea Grant Website

Acme and the National Institute of Weights and Measures

Acme has also worked closely with the National Institute of Weights and Measures (NIST), to provide information to insure that proper standards are in place for correctly measuring and marking product retail packaging and help ensure consumer protections.

Acme Sponge and Chamois Community Outreach Blair TN Fire Department
Acme Community Outreach
Blair TN Fire Department

ACME First Responder and Local Community Outreach

In addition to our other efforts, we are committed to serving those who serve us by offering some of our first responders the tools they need to keep their equipment properly maintained and clean. Firefighting is a dirty business, and we’re proud to be able to help with the cleanup by donating sponges and chamois to some of our country’s finest.

Acme Facebook Page




Acme and the Sponge and Chamois Institute

The Acme leadership team is also very involved in the Sponge and Chamois Institute, the trade organization for the industry. Acme officers have held various leadership positions over the past few decades. “The Sponge & Chamois Institute is a nonprofit trade association that was founded over fifty years ago. The mission of the Sponge & Chamois Institute is to educate the public about the benefits of genuine chamois and natural sponges. As part of this mission, The Sponge and Chamois Institute and its members have taken a leading role in educating the public“ – Sponge and Chamois Institute website

Sponge and Chamois Institute

Acme Education Outreach Program

Acme is also committed to working with educational organizations to educate and inform about aquaculture and sea sponges in particular. We are currently in the process of developing classroom materials that meet national curriculum standards to help teachers and students learn more about the wonder of sea sponges and their uses.

Tarpon Springs History

The City of Tarpon Springs is located at the mouth of the Anclote River on the Gulf of Mexico in central Florida. Probably inspired by the tarpon that inhabit the nearby waters, the name Tarpon Springs was given to the settlement that appeared there sometime in the 1860s or 1870s. The Orange Belt Railway, which served as the major transportation route, arrived in Tarpon Springs in 1887, making it a hub of import and export of both people and cargo. And the same year Tarpon Springs became the first city to be incorporated on the Pinellas peninsula. The construction of Anclote Key lighthouse made transportation to and from Tarpon Springs by sea safer. These improvements in transportation made Tarpon Springs a popular winter resort for wealthy northerners in the late 18th and early 19th century.

The Sponge Diving Industry in Tarpon Springs

Key West fishermen, in search of turtles, accidently discovered the sponge beds off the mouth of the Anclote River in 1873 when their nets became snagged on them. Spongers from Key West relocated to Tarpon Springs to work the newly discovered beds and some of them stayed, helping grow the community. To process and pack the sponges, sponge-packing houses were built in Tarpon Springs during the 1890s and sponge presses were installed, prompting sponge buyers moved to town. The center of the sponge industry gradually shifted its center from Key West, Cuba and the Bahamas to Tarpon Springs and by 1900 the Tarpon Springs was considered the largest sponge port in the country.

The Greek Community in Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs History - Greek Sponge Divers early 1900's
Tarpon Springs History – Greek Sponge Divers early 1900’s

The first mechanized sponge boat was brought to Tarpon Springs in 1905 along with five hundred Greek sponge divers from all over the Greek islands. And over the next few years more immigrants followed and new businesses were established to serve the growing Greek community. Sponge divers, boat-builders, merchants and brokers all came to Tarpon Springs to live and work, creating a highly-integrated industry.

In 1906 the Sponge Exchange Bank was established to support industry activities. And two years later, in 1908, the Sponge Exchange was founded. The Sponge Exchange was an organized system established for grading and selling the sponges. The original Sponge Exchange consisted of storage bins surrounding a central auction block in the center.

Acme Sponge Company in Tarpon Springs

In 1938 by Michael G. Cantonis founded the Acme Sponge and Chamois Company. At age 21, after borrowing $1000 from a friend, he went to New York and began importing and selling natural sponges from the Mediterranean. To be closer to its primary customer base, the company was moved to Chicago in 1947. And in the 1950s, imported natural chamois and synthetic sponges were added to the product line. In 1959 the company began planning a tannery to tan chamois leather, which was finally opened in 1962. And in 1977, Acme’s facilities were consolidated and relocated to Tarpon Springs, Florida, where they remain today.

See All Sea Sponge Products

Acme Sponge Company History

The Acme Sponge Company offers a variety of natural sea sponge, synthetic sponges and related products.  It is headquartered in Tarpon Springs, Florida, which is arguably the sponge diving center of the United States. We pride ourselves on the quality of the materials we use and the products we offer; “the finest products from the finest materials in the world.”

Acme Sponge Company

Acme Sponge company traces its roots back four generations to sea sponge merchants and divers in Greece. But Acme is not just a sponge company anymore.  Over the past 70+ years it has grown into a diverse multi-national company with its headquarters in Florida. Acme now offers a wide variety of different types of products including, natural sponges, synthetic sponges, natural loofahs products, bath and body brushes, and assorted cleaning products and accessories.

Acme Sponge Company Founder

Acme Sponge and Chamois Founder Michael Cantonis
Michael Cantonis

ACME Sponge Company was founded in 1938 by Michael G. Cantonis. Borrowing $1000 from a friend, he went to New York at age 21 and began importing natural sponges from the Mediterranean.  The company was moved to Chicago in 1947 to be closer to its customer base. In the 1950s imported natural chamois were added to the product mix of natural sponges and synthetic sponges. In 1959 the company began planning a tannery to tan chamois leather and this tannery was finally opened in 1962. And in 1977 all or Acme’s facilities were consolidated and moved to Tarpon Springs, Florida.

 

Acme Sponge and Chamois Worldwide Operations

Acme established a New Zealand facility in 1994 specifically to facilitate the procurement of premium New Zealand sheep pelts. New Zealand supplies the highest quality sheepskins available for chamois manufacture, and being the only producer with a facility in the islands is a big advantage. Acme constantly monitors the raw material market to insure uninterrupted flow of the highest quality materials.

In 2005 Acme consolidated its tanning operations in Izmir, Turkey to further improve efficiencies, while continuing to maintain its offices in New Zealand to insure the steady flow of the highest quality raw material.  In January 2012 Acme moved its headquarters facility to the new Tarpon Springs campus.

Over a 79 year history, Acme Sponge and Chamois evolved to become the largest distributor of both natural chamois leather and natural sponges in the United States, and largest chamois tanner in the world.

The Acme Sponge Company

In 2017, Acme Sponge and Chamois returned to its roots with the sale of the Chamois line to Hopkins Manufacturing. The company also returned to its original name, the Acme Sponge Company.  The Acme Chamois Company remains headquartered in Tarpon Springs, Fl. and the largest distributor of natural sea sponges in the world.

Contact Acme Sponge Company

At Acme, only the finest quality raw materials go into our products and great care is given in manufacturing to insure that our finished products are some of the finest and highest quality in the world. We stand behind our products and we pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service. If you would like to contact us regarding a product or would like to become one of our retailers, please use the form below. We will do our best to answer any questions you might have, or help you find the information you need.

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Acme Sponge Retailers

Our genuine sponge products are available from Acme sponge retailers.  Click on the logo of the retailer you prefer to see their selection of Acme products online or to find a retail store near you.

Acme Sponge Retailers Links

See Acme Sponge products at Ace Hardware Stores See Acme Sponge products at Amazon Buy Acme Sponge products fr your business through AllPro

Acme Sponge Product Information

For information on specific sponge  products, please refer to our Catalog . Additional information about our products and their uses may be found in the Products section of our website. For information on our brands, please refer to the Brands section. If you would like information about our company and its history, it can be found in the About Us section. And we can be contacted directly through the Contact Us page. To purchase our products directly, click on any of the Retailer logos above.   Our products are also available from many other leading bath, gift, and paint, hardware, janitorial and equine stores and distributors.

 Acme Product Quality Guarantee

Satisfactory performance is guaranteed. Any natural sponge or chamois product found to be defective will be replaced free of charge by Acme Sponge Company. Replacement will be made upon presentation of product, proof of purchase, package and explanation of dissatisfaction.

About Acme Sponge

Acme Sponge offers a variety of natural sea sponge and cleaning related products.  It is headquartered in Tarpon Springs, Florida, which is arguably the sponge diving center of the United States. We pride ourselves on the quality of the materials we use and the products we offer; “the finest products from the finest materials in the world.”

What Sets Acme Sponge Products Apart

Sponge Diver Mosaic Tarpon Springs Acme Sponge and Chamois
Sponge Diver Mosaic in Tarpon Springs
Acme Sponge Company

Acme Sponge traces its roots back four generations to sea sponge merchants and divers in Greece. But Acme is not just a sponge company anymore.  Over the past 70+ years it has grown into a diverse multi-national company with its headquarters in Florida. Acme now offers a wide variety of different types of products including, natural sponges, synthetic sponges, natural loofahs and loofah products, bath and body brushes, and assorted cleaning products and accessories.

Acme Sponge is the industry leader in natural sponges, and has built a reputation for durable high quality products. As a company, Acme is dedicated to supplying value to our customers not only through our pricing and consistently maintaining the highest quality, but also by offering a wide selection and great customer service.

Acme Sponge Company History

ACME Sponge Company was founded in 1938 by Michael G. Cantonis. Borrowing $1000 from a friend, he went to New York at age 21 and began importing natural sponges from the Mediterranean.  The company was moved to Chicago in 1947 to be closer to its customer base. And in the 1950’s, imported natural chamois were added to the product mix of natural sponges and synthetic sponges. In 1959 the company began planning a tannery to tan chamois leather, which was finally opened in 1962. Then in 1977 all of Acme’s facilities were consolidated and moved to Tarpon Springs, Florida.  Over our 79 year history, Acme has evolved to become the largest distributor of  natural sponges in the United States.