• 800-232-LOWE (5693)
  • info@lowe.org
  • 58220 Decatur Road, Cassopolis, MI 49031

Ed's Timeline

The 1950s

Getting bigger

Product expansion and savvy marketing helped Ed Lowe win both new and repeat customers. In addition to Kitty Litter, he had introduced a complete line of feline products that included sanitary disposable trays, shampoos, flea powder and cat toys. Ed placed print and mail-orders ads in pet trade magazines, made dealer aids available through jobbers and created incentive programs that offered bonuses to retailers with the greatest sale volume.

National distribution also played a key role in Kitty Litter’s success. In the early 1950s, most cat-box-filler was sold directly to small pet stores through regional distributorships. Yet Ed created an informal broker network that enabled him to scale sales quickly: After establishing 15 to 20 customers in a new territory, he would find a local wholesaler to buy a train-car load of Kitty Litter to supply those retail accounts — and open new ones. This enabled Ed to progressively tap larger markets, from local cat owners to regional pet stores to mail-order customers and commercial accounts across the country.

Highlighting the different Lowe products

In 1954 Ed introduced a new brand of cat-box-filler, Tidy Cat®, which was sold exclusively in supermarkets. Kitty Litter was then positioned as a boutique brand for pet stores and veterinarians. Although differentiating a core product through branding is now an accepted marketing practice, it was a novel approach at the time.

To meet growing demand, Ed began to increase manufacturing efficiencies. In 1951 he moved his packaging operation from southwest Michigan to a facility in Paris, TN, to be closer to the Southern Clay Co., which provided raw material to his company. In 1958 Ed purchased a manufacturing facility and mining tract in Olmsted, IL. This was a big milestone that enabled him to engage in vertical integration of mining, process and packaging.

October 11, 1970 - Tidy Cat ad.