The W.C. Redmon History
Photo caption: Early photo of the Redmon family and employees. Standing center in the back row is Marion Redmon. Standing fifth from the right is Charles Redmon. Standing at the end of the back row, right side, is William C. Redmon and his wife. Seated in the front row second from the right, is Willard L. Redmon.
A Dream is Born
5th Generation Family Owned
America in 1883 saw Chester Arthur as President and the big news of the day was the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. The forces of law and order were slowly taming the Wild West as hordes of legal immigrants flocked to our shores. America was universally recognized as the land of opportunity. Many avenues of fame and fortune were open to those blessed with ambition and an infinite capacity for hard work.
One such person was W.C. Redmon. His career may have been less spectacular than the great barons of the railroads and Wall Street, but no small niche in the business community of the day. The fact that the company he started from scratch is still prospering 130 years later is testimony to his vision and prowess. In 1882 this young man was working making baskets in a small factory in Peru, Indiana when it burned to the ground. His employer gave him recommendation to another basket factory but he soon took up barbering by day and basket making by night with the dream of his own basket company. No doubt the towns people thought it foolhardy for a fifteen year old with no capital and little experience to venture out on his own but he proved them wrong. Working nights and with only one employee named Mary Laywell, who five years later became Mrs. William Redmon, they wove their way into a business with such common place items as baskets for tomatoes, eggs, and clothes. Some of the baskets sold for as little as 50 cents a dozen. Needless to say, profits were small, but not small enough to discourage these young entrepreneurs. Slowly but surely the enterprise grew, despite more than a few setbacks. The factory in Denver, Indiana was wiped out by fire during a 4th of July celebration in 1906. The plant was uninsured, but William refused to give up and rebuilt it literally from the ground up, but by 1911 moved into a new factory at the current location. Over the years the Redmon Company introduced a variety of products; fiber reed furniture, and even a line of chocolate, jellies and jams which failed in the uncertain time of World Wars I & II and the great depression.
At the death of William Redmon in 1943, his three sons took over the business. Though the reins of leadership changed hands, there was no change in the basic Redmon philosophy: to provide products that fill a definite consumer need, practical products, useful products at the lowest possible price. That is exactly what the company has done now for decades. However, today instead of labor intensive hand woven baskets, Redmon provides product for a host of categories including furniture, baby scales, lawn & garden, children’s chairs, organization & storage, fun & fitness, and pet products
The company has undergone many changes since 1883. It is a far cry from a few people making baskets by hand to one that brings product from around the world to a 120,000 sq. ft. production and distribution facility to supply major American retailers with good products. The world is a different place now, more complex and hectic, but we the 5th generation of family are resolved to continue being inspired by the spirit and example of our founder. The old saying is still true; “the young chose to do what seems to be imprudent, but continue to make it happen generation after generation”. It’s an American success story that we hope will continue to inspire our children’s children in 2083.