Archive for Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Everlasting Specialties branching out

June 6, 2007

When it comes to wreaths, Everlasting Specialties is at the top of the list.

The Tonganoxie company specializes in dried flowers and, more recently, pest control and garden tools.

But wreaths have become the company's calling card; its place on the Internet is testament to that.

Type in "wreaths" on the Google Web site, and the search engine brings up as its top match, one of Everlasting Specialties many Web sites.

"We're kind of the wreath company anymore," said Steve LaForge, who co-owns the business with Jim Bennett.

Along with sending out its wreaths to businesses, the wholesale company also does drop shipments for other businesses.

But the company, which started in 1989, isn't limited to wreaths.

Everlasting Specialties' roots are in dried flowers, but recently the company has expanded to garden tools and pest control products.

"We just wanted more diversification in product lines in the company," LaForge said. "And we're all into gardening. We all kind of moved into something we all had an interest in."

LaForge said the business has branched out into ergonomic tools for those who garden as a hobby and don't want a pain in the back.

The company's work force is five people strong in a 10,000-square-foot building at the Urban Hess Business Center in Tonganoxie. The company moved there in 2000 from the historic depot in downtown Tonganoxie.

As for expansion, the structure at Urban Hess is the right size. As far as expanding product lines, LaForge said the group is "kicking around some ideas."

Much of Everlasting Specialties' shipping and sales -- about 80 percent -- is done from Tonganoxie. The remaining 20 percent is sent directly from manufacturers in the pest control department.

LaForge said the company ships products throughout the United States, although there is some international interest, especially in England.

"We haven't really branched out there," Laforge said. "As you're shipping pest products ... there's a lot of paperwork involved."

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