By Sigrid Tornquist
Q: How has Jacquart Fabric Products’—and Stormy Kromer’s—success affected Ironwood, the town in which they’re located?
A: What happened as Stormy Kromer developed was that people started to visit the town that I live in because of it, and it became something even grander than we had imagined. You would be somewhere and somebody would come up to you and say, “I own the hotel in town and six people just stayed at my hotel and they told me the only reason they came to town was to take the tour of your factory, so thank you for doing that.” Our tours have gotten bigger and bigger since then and we’ve got some wonderful things pending that really could bring some fame to our little town. So I went from trying to build a reputation for my family because my company was named after my family, to the honor of representing our community to the world.
Q: Why did you decide to grow your business by acquiring brands instead of simply concentrating on increasing the customer base of JFP?
A: Stormy Kromer (run by my daughter Gina Thorsen) is the third business that we purchased after starting JFP. We also have Paus™ (run by my daughter Kari Jacquart), which offers innovative pet beds and furniture, and Stone Legacy, which manufactures durable cases for a range of industries and products. And we’d like to acquire more brands. One of the benefits of owning your own brand is that you have more opportunity to pick the pricing, and if you decide to take production off-shore, it goes when you decide it should go, instead of the customer taking it. So obviously there’s more risk, but there’s more control as well. It’s something to think about if you want to grow your business.