From the beginning of our manufacturing history you might say Tusco Display has had an ingenuity streak – creative yet boot-strap practical – since the company’s inception in 1949. In the early days Tusco did not set out to become a display manufacturer in Ohio. When eight members of the Jaycees in the small eastern Ohio community of Gnadenhutten set out to create manufacturing jobs the focus was not on custom point of purchase displays.
Screen printing advertising signs eventually led to displays. But the entrepreneurs thrived on getting good deals on manufacturing equipment and expanding the business in new ways. Sewing painters’ caps, building BBQ grills, stamping automotive parts, making portable stadium seats and fabricating boat ladders and anchors are just a few examples of the dozens of products they produced. Working with a broad range of materials and creative manufacturing techniques grew the Tusco ingenuity gene. And from this sprang the ability to create new displays.
In 1979, the Lauber family purchased the company from the founders and soon focused on its core competency: building custom retail displays and store fixtures.
But the propensity to expand into new materials and processes and to look at client challenges creatively had become ingrained into the company culture. Tusco Display used equipment in unique ways, e.g., buying a CNC router and installing an oversized motor to machine aluminum in a way more commonly done only in wood. Dozens of mechanical and design patents speak to this culture of innovation, including products like Extend-A-Shelf.
This “find a better way” company DNA was championed by CEO Mike Lauber who bought out his family to become sole owner by the early 1990’s. Mike served on the board of directors of POPAI from 1986 to 1996, chaired the annual Marketplace trade show in 1992, received the Industry Achievement Award in 1996, the President’s Award in 2004 and was elected to the POPAI Hall of Fame in 2008. Along with his dedication to the industry, Mike is dedicated to his clients, his associates, his community and his family. The business has expanded some 800% to serve over 400 clients, and now occupies a physical plant that spans over 110,000 square feet. The company has been instrumental in raising over $800,000 for Project Lead The Way, an innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program in their local schools. He has played leading roles in various economic development, educational and community organizations, stressing the opportunity to innovate and make a difference.
For over 60 years, finding a way to solve challenges, cleverly and economically, and make a difference for clients has been a way of life at Tusco. As their ingenuity prospers their clients’ products in-store, so it continues to help Tusco Display prosper, too.