Lawrence Fabric & Metal Structures Inc., St. Louis, Mo., has implemented an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and is now owned by its employees.
First named Lawrence Canvas Products, the company was formed by Art and Dorothy Lawrence in 1941 and sold to Bob Helmsing in 1977. In 1984, Jerry Grimaud, the company’s ninth employee, became a minority owner as the business transformed from just offering industrial fabric products to manufacturing and installing awnings and tents. In 1996, Helmsing and Grimaud changed the name of the company to Lawrence Fabric Structures to better describe its range of fabric products. In 2005, Grimaud bought out his partner of 21 years, becoming the sole owner. As metal components and metal awnings became a mainstay part of the business, “Metal” was added to the name in January 2010.
“It is time to pass the proverbial baton,” Grimaud says. “Lawrence has been through a tremendous growth ride and now seems a great time to move forward. The culture of the company suggests that an ESOP is a great transition tool for me as well as a just reward for my many dedicated employees.”
Grimaud will continue to be involved with the company, assisting Mike Bowman, the new president, and Dave Bess, the new vice president.