The ICD Group became a household name in Jamaica due to the vision, passion, and innovation, the seven sons and four daughters of Joseph and Florizel Matalon – the company’s founders.
As young adults, the Matalon children pooled their resources and energy following the counsel of their father, Joseph Matalon, an immigrant from Damascus, Syria. Aaron often related a story that his father told him one evening when he was playing cards. At the end of an unsuccessful solitaire game, he folded the cards together and asked Aaron to tear the pack. Aaron replied that he did not think he had the strength to do so, but his father picked up each card and tore it in half, explaining it was not difficult. He then gave Aaron a life lesson, which profoundly impacted all the Matalons, advising Aaron that he and his siblings should stick together, as the strength found in that unity was like the pack of cards. They may be weak as individual cards, but as a unit, they would have the strength of the entire pack.
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At the end of the war, the siblings came together to create the foundation family business. The group included Mayer, Isaac (Zaccie) back from the army, Moses from
the navy, Eli from the air force, Pauline, the eldest daughter, and Jack Goodman, her husband. The group joined forces and started Commodity Service Company Limited with virtually no capital and little access to credit. Nevertheless, they set up their operations at Orange Street in downtown Kingston on a rented property to distribute pharmaceuticals. They expanded within a short time to include a wide range of products. In addition to this, Eli took over the management of a factory that specialised in manufacturing a wide range of products, including cocoa powder and cocoa butter. An Englishman who was anxious to return to England owned the business prior, and the family eventually bought the operations from him, streamlined production, and concentrated on cocoa products only. The company grew to be a dominant force in the manufacturing and distribution of cocoa products in Jamaica for many years.
What they lacked in capital and experience at the beginning of their venture, they made up for in intelligence, passion and teamwork. Within a few years, Aaron brought Matalon and Company into CSCo as a subsidiary. By 1954 the company had outgrown its Orange Street premises, and the Matalons purchased a building at the corner of Harbour Street and Fleet Street to house the operations.
Over time, the founders realised that the rapid expansion of CSCo through the development of new entrepreneurial opportunities had put a strain on the human and financial resources of the company. Therefore, they decided to cease all upcoming activity for CSCo and instead have them done under the banner of the newly formed Industrial Commercial Development (ICD) Group of Companies, which (remove “was”) floated on the fledgling Jamaica Stock Exchange in 1962.
Within fifteen (15) years, ICD had become a dominant force in the Jamaican economy, and the name was well known throughout the country and beyond.
ICD Head Office, 7-9 Harbour Street,