I’m really excited – Foster-Stephens will be 85 years old on March 10. The company was founded by my father, Elmer (Bill) Jones, when someone abandoned their printed dry cleaning posters at the printing company where he worked. Dad bought the posters from his boss and sold them to local dry cleaners. This proved so successful that he ordered more posters, then founded the company.
There are two stories of how the company was named “Foster-Stephens” – the first, because that was the name on the bottom of the abandoned posters. The second is a little more fun. At the time, Stephen Foster was a very popular composer – you may know some of his songs – “Oh Susanna”, “Camptown Races”, “My Old Kentucky Home”, and “Swanee River”. So, the other story was that my Dad switched the names, Stephen & Foster, to make, Foster-Stephens.
Dad worked at Foster-Stephens until his death in 1983 at the age of 81. Currently the second generation of the family is working in the company, and my children and nephews are looking forward to becoming the third generation of this family business.
As noted above, posters were the first product and the mainstay of the company through the 1960’s. For the first fifty years, Foster-Stephens specialized in “fine and distinctive advertising for dry cleaners.” In the 1940’s, wedding gown preservation started to move from the exclusive province of upscale department stores to dry cleaners, and the company jumped into the forefront of this trend by providing wedding gown storage boxes.
Today, thanks to generations of employees, from Curt Freeland and Herb Sealander in its early years, to our current general manager, Kathy Daniels, we would not be where we are today, a vibrant and growing company, continuing to focus on various archival products that best preserve textiles, including archival boxes and muslin garment bags. We not only sell to individuals on our website, but we also sell to dry cleaners, museums, fashion designers, costumers, conservators, and movie studio archives.
I thank you all for your support of Foster-Stephens.