History

Our Mission

Our founders Arthur Schwanke and Don Davis Sr. set out in 1937 to build a wholesale plywood distributor business by applying three simple principles: 1) Know the customer’s needs; 2) partner with best-in-class suppliers; and 3) make product available by efficient warehousing methods for immediate delivery.  Larry Rassin, our recently retired President and CEO, continued this legacy, as evidenced by the significant growth of our product lines, markets and marketshare during his tenure.  Today, Aetna has grown into one of the Midwest’s largest wholesale distributors of building products by staying true to these simple, but enduring, principles.

We welcome the opportunity to bring added value, faster response, and better results to your next project.

Jon Minnaert
President
Aetna Building Solutions

Jon Minnaert

Over 80 Years of Experience

1937. The country, and the building industries in particular, are still mired in the Great Depression, and the timing couldn’t be worse. But Don Davis Sr. and Arthur Schwanke have a hunch. American industry, resilient as ever, will bounce back and materials like plywood will soon be in short supply. So they roll the dice and launch Aetna Plywood & Veneer Co. out of a modest warehouse at 1731 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, IL. Just a few years later, Aetna is deeply immersed in the American war effort, and a principal supplier of lightweight, high strength plywood for important projects like the famous all-plywood gliders used by airborne troops during the Normandy invasion, and countless other applications in support of America and her allies.  

By 1949, a visitor to the Elston Ave. warehouse would find what the company calls “Walls of Wood from the Forests of the World.” Some 10 million sq. ft. of hard and soft plywood, over 100 railroad carloads, is piled high as the fast-growing company races to meet the demands of the post-war building boom for housing and pre-finished wall paneling. Aetna is also becoming an important source for a new product called particleboard, and many other new products destined to become ‘household names’ for residential and commercial applications.

One of a series of Aetna commemorative plaques created by Aetna in the 1950s, composed of some 100 different native and exotic wood veneers.

  

Other milestones would follow, most recently the expansion into a modern and efficient corporate headquarters and 200,000 sq. ft. warehouse facility in Maywood, IL in 2001 and, over the last 25 years, the building out of sales and warehousing facilities in support of important markets in Indianapolis, IN, Rockford, IL and the Twin Cities, MN.  

Aetna Building Solutions, over 80 years old, and growing strong. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Once you’re an Aetna customer, making payments via OneSource is a cinch. Your Account Details show all open invoices, so you can make a blanket payment on the account or pay any amount on specific invoices – all via Credit Card or your ACH set up with the Aetna credit department. You can also easily apply any credits you have on account.

Aetna Bargains and Specials on hundreds of items in every Product Category are easy to find on OneSource. Click on Bargains and Specials right on the homepage and you’ll get instant access to the most deeply discounted items in our Close Out Corner. You’ll also find our featured Product of the Month, as well as handy Resource Guides to help you learn about and apply these many solutions.

Your Account Summary will display details on all open invoices by age; your Account Detail will list all invoices currently open on the account.

Click on your Cart to place your order on the items you’ve selected. You can first edit the quantity of an item or delete an item, before you Proceed to Checkout. You can then submit your Order or request a Quote for special pricing. You can also request a delivery date and select Ship Via options such as OT (Out Truck), Parcel (UPS or Speedy) and WC (Will Call).

Once you’ve selected an item, you can go into the item and see inventory details including quantity price breaks. You can drill down further to determine the available inventory at every Aetna location.

Searching through Aetna inventory is easy via OneSource. Click on the Product Category: Composites, Hardware, Lumber, Plywood, or Surfaces. Then find the specific product and specify the desired criteria, such as Length, Thickness, Width…The item will appear, with description, Qty. available, item # and price…