FloraCraft is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Founded in 1946, FloraCraft has grown from a small business in Ludington, Michigan, to a leader in the craft and floral industries with more than 250 employees who provide American-made products to Walmart, Amazon, Michaels, JOANN, Hobby Lobby, and other leading retailers. Headquartered in Ludington, the company also has facilities in Pomona, California, and Celaya, Mexico.
“For 75 years, we have made it easy for crafters and florists everywhere to make beautiful things with our innovative products,” said CEO Eric Erwin. “As we celebrate our 75th anniversary with pride in our past, we also look eagerly to a bright future we will create together.
“Being a family-owned and operated company, it’s important we honor our heritage and our team – past and present – and the Ludington community that has been with us every step of the way.”
In 1946, Leonard Schoenherr and Park Allensworth launched the Foliage Company of America in Ludington. Schoenherr’s nephew and current FloraCraft chairman, Lee Schoenherr, began working for the company, picking local leaves, ferns, grasses, and flowers to be turned into dried floral arrangements – starting his entrepreneurial life and building the company into the industry leader it is today.
After serving in the Army, followed by a brief stint in research and development at the Dow Chemical Company, Lee Schoenherr returned to his hometown permanently to work for the family business. He bought the company from his uncle in 1974, merging CustomFoam Crafts and the Foliage Company of America into a new company. A keen marketer, he changed the company name to FloraCraft to better position its standing in both the floral and craft industries.
“I came back to work for the family business so we could expand the company across the country,” said Schoenherr. “Through multiple acquisitions, we added capacity and customers, solidifying our position as an industry leader in both the floral and craft markets.
“My long-term vision for the company was to secure accounts with major national retailers while remaining true to our hometown roots. Not only have we done that, but we’ve also established ourselves as an organization that cares about its people, encourages everyone to explore their creativity, and spearheads innovation.”
In the 1960s, FloraCraft began expanding outside of Ludington, acquiring companies in Ohio, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania. The company continued to acquire other companies through the early 1990s in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and New Jersey.
Additionally, it expanded its product lines to create a house of brands that would serve a wider variety of customers, from retail florists and home crafters. The company also added educational programming to help seasoned creators expand their designs and to inspire newcomers with even more uses of its products.
By 2006, FloraCraft became the top foam fabricator for the craft and floral industries in the United States.
“Even as we began growing, our Ludington roots remained strong and deep,” said Erwin. “We continue to expand our operations and have kept that same philosophy, making capital investments right here in Ludington.
“We also believe in giving back to our community by supporting the arts, education, athletics, and other initiatives. We’ll continue to do that far into our future to make Ludington a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family.”
In 2018, Schoenherr decided to make his most thoughtful gift of all to honor the company’s workforce by giving more than 200 employees nearly $4 million in 401(k) contributions and cash benefits during FloraCraft’s holiday party – a gesture that resonated internationally as media outlets around the world shared the news.
Over the last three years, FloraCraft has made strides in creating and implementing new and innovative products and practices to stay true to its industry-leading identity.
In 2019, FloraCraft began producing its floral and craft foams in-house, eliminating the need for a third-party supplier. This vertical integration helped the company maintain greater quality control of its products, protected Michigan manufacturing jobs, and reduced the company’s carbon footprint by eliminating nearly 400,000 miles of truck traffic each year from its former supplier to its headquarters. That same year, the company also added a 27,000-square-foot shipping and distribution center featuring eight shipping bays, new state-of-the-art automation, and expanded packaging lines.
In 2020, the manufacturer debuted FōM™with PolyRenew®, the market’s first environmentally conscious craft and floral foam material made with recycled materials. The breakthrough product saves hard-to-recycle plastics from landfills and mixes it with virgin raw materials, allowing the company to make the same amount of product it normally does but eliminates the equivalent of nearly 1,000 miles of plastic per year. Since FōM’s launch, FloraCraft has received three national awards for innovation and sustainability from the National Association of Manufacturers, Stevie® Awards, and Edison Awards.
“What has always made us so successful is our team, who has been resilient, nimble, dedicated, innovative, and passionate about the products we create – and the impact they have,” Erwin said. “It’s truly been a pleasure to see our organization grow from our humble beginnings in Ludington to being a global leader – all while protecting American jobs by maintaining our independence as a locally owned and operated Michigan company.”
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