Little Rapids Corporation

history


 
 

1947
Charles Egan acquires Little Rapids Corporation

Charles Egan purchases Little Rapids Corporation, a groundwood pulp operation, just south of Green Bay, Wisconsin, in the community known as Little Rapids. From that base, Charles Egan sets out to grow a significant company with strong positions in niche markets, based on a pulp and paper heritage.

 

1950s and 60s
LRC successfully executes forward integration strategy

LRC acquires the Shawano Paper Mill, a two-machine mill founded in 1894 as the Wolf River Paper & Fiber Company. The company divests its pulp operations in Little Rapids, Wisconsin, and reinvests in a new paper converting business focused on medical disposables. The new medical disposable division trades under the name of Baycare Disposables. LRC expands its Baycare Disposables business with the acquisition of Johnson & Johnson’s Graham Medical Supply business, based in Holyoke, Massachusetts. LRC adds to its papermaking business with the purchase of a tissue paper machine from Johnson & Johnson. The new tissue machine is located in Milltown, New Jersey.

 

1970s and 80s
LRC expands its medical disposable and specialty papers businesses

LRC acquires the privately held Pacific Papers in Tacoma, Washington, giving the company national distribution in its medical disposables business. The medical business is renamed Graham Professional. LRC acquires a second two-paper machine paper mill in Potsdam, New York, adding papermaking capacity to its Specialty Papers business. The East Brunswick tissue machine is relocated to the Shawano, Wisconsin mill, tripling its capacity.

 

1990s
LRC consolidates its manufacturing and expands its beauty and dental businesses

The Graham Professional business consolidates its manufacturing network into the newly expanded Green Bay, Wisconsin, facility. The new manufacturing footprint enhances LRC’s excellence in operations and supply chain management. LRC acquires Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s barber and beauty business and adds nationally recognized brands such as Sanek® and CelluCotton® to its portfolio. LRC further enhances its beauty and dental disposable businesses through the acquisition of Marcal’s professional towel product line. LRC divests the commodity-oriented Potsdam Mill and focuses its resources on its Shawano Mill. Specialty Papers’ introduces the proprietary Ultra Bond® product for premium napkin applications.

 

2000 to 2009
Strengthening the core

Following several successful decades of growth and organizational development, Little Rapids Corporation solidified its leadership position in its core medical, beauty, and custom solutions businesses. In 2008, Famis Manufacturing became part of the Little Rapids Corporation, integrating with the Graham Beauty business. Famis supplied single-use products for the salon and barber industry, and the acquisition strengthened the Graham Beauty lineup.

 

2010 to Present
Strong market positions and strategic acquisitions spur growth

In 2010, the acquisition of Larsen Converting added flexographic printing to the company’s range of capabilities. In 2012, the three custom solutions businesses—Shawano Specialty Papers, Graham Specialty, and Larsen Converting—were rebranded under the Little Rapids name to reflect the company’s ability to leverage multiple capabilities in delivering solutions to our customers.

The Little Rapids business is well positioned to grow, providing higher-value products and services that use creative combinations of our capabilities. We are also using our flexographic printers in new ways and with different substrates to expand our market opportunities and establish ourselves in new niches.

Across all our businesses, customers choose LRC for reliability in delivery, personal service, and high levels of product quality. With continued investment in new product development as well as in our people, our facilities, and our technologies, LRC is rapidly strengthening its product portfolio and advancing into new markets.