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Slide 1940s 1960s 1950s 1930s 1970s 1980s 1990s 1920s Ed was a thinker and a tinkerer. As he matured he was keen to spot opportunities around him. Never afraid to hustle, his work ethic and moral compass were setting him on a path for future business success. Ed Lowe entered the Navy in 1942 and continued his entrepreneurial journey by selling labeling stamps to his crewmates while in the service. After leaving the Navy Ed returned to work for his father selling grease absorbents to local industries. Everything changed in 1947 when a new opportunity came knocking. As his success continued with the cat box filler Ed looked to expand his product portfolio to include a whole range of cat-related products. During this time, Ed bought his first plant for the sole purpose of processing the Fullers earth. Vertical integration was part of the key to Ed’s success. Business was good for Ed and warranted the construction of a new corporate headquarters in Cassopolis, Michigan. During this time Ed was also busy securing patents and trademarks for the assortment of new ideas he was bringing to market. Being number 1 in a number 2 industry was not something that Ed took lightly. Investing heavily in equipment, research, development and marketing, Ed aimed to stay at the top. More patents and trademarks were filed during this time in addition to some other grand ideas that never made it commercially. The 1980s saw the reinvention of his original product under the name Tidy Cat 3–a great commercial success that owed a lot to his marketing efforts. Continued product innovations kept his competitors at bay while he started thinking about what the future would hold, specifically the creation of a foundation in his name. When Ed Lowe died in October 1995 the groundwork had already been laid to ensure that his entrepreneurial legacy would live on. Through his philanthropic activities both with the foundation and elsewhere, he established a template for paying it forward, so that others could benefit from his generosity. Every great story has a beginning. Ours starts with Ed’s birth. From an early age Ed showed a curiosity for life that would later turn entrepreneurial. Slide 1940s 1960s 1950s 1930s 1970s 1980s 1990s 1920s Ed was a thinker and a tinkerer. As he matured he was keen to spot opportunities around him. Never afraid to hustle, his work ethic and moral compass were setting him on a path for future business success. Ed Lowe entered the Navy in 1942 and continued his entrepreneurial journey by selling labeling stamps to his crewmates while in the service. After leaving the Navy Ed returned to work for his father selling grease absorbents to local industries. Everything changed in 1947 when a new opportunity came knocking. As his success continued with the cat box filler Ed looked to expand his product portfolio to include a whole range of cat-related products. During this time, Ed bought his first plant for the sole purpose of processing the Fullers earth. Vertical integration was part of the key to Ed’s success. Business was good for Ed and warranted the construction of a new corporate headquarters in Cassopolis, Michigan. During this time Ed was also busy securing patents and trademarks for the assortment of new ideas he was bringing to market. Being number 1 in a number 2 industry was not something that Ed took lightly. Investing heavily in equipment, research, development and marketing, Ed aimed to stay at the top. More patents and trademarks were filed during this time in addition to some other grand ideas that never made it commercially. The 1980s saw the reinvention of his original product under the name Tidy Cat 3–a great commercial success that owed a lot to his marketing efforts. Continued product innovations kept his competitors at bay while he started thinking about what the future would hold, specifically the creation of a foundation in his name. When Ed Lowe died in October 1995 the groundwork had already been laid to ensure that his entrepreneurial legacy would live on. Through his philanthropic activities both with the foundation and elsewhere, he established a template for paying it forward, so that others could benefit from his generosity. Every great story has a beginning. Ours starts with Ed’s birth. From an early age Ed showed a curiosity for life that would later turn entrepreneurial. Slide 1940s 1960s 1950s 1930s 1970s 1980s 1990s 1920s Ed was a thinker and a tinkerer. As he matured he was keen to spot opportunities around him. Never afraid to hustle, his work ethic and moral compass were setting him on a path for future business success. Ed Lowe entered the Navy in 1942 and continued his entrepreneurial journey by selling labeling stamps to his crewmates while in the service. After leaving the Navy Ed returned to work for his father selling grease absorbents to local industries. Everything changed in 1947 when a new opportunity came knocking. As his success continued with the cat box filler Ed looked to expand his product portfolio to include a whole range of cat-related products. During this time, Ed bought his first plant for the sole purpose of processing the Fullers earth. Vertical integration was part of the key to Ed’s success. Business was good for Ed and warranted the construction of a new corporate headquarters in Cassopolis, Michigan. During this time Ed was also busy securing patents and trademarks for the assortment of new ideas he was bringing to market. Being number 1 in a number 2 industry was not something that Ed took lightly. Investing heavily in equipment, research, development and marketing, Ed aimed to stay at the top. More patents and trademarks were filed during this time in addition to some other grand ideas that never made it commercially. The 1980s saw the reinvention of his original product under the name Tidy Cat 3–a great commercial success that owed a lot to his marketing efforts. Continued product innovations kept his competitors at bay while he started thinking about what the future would hold, specifically the creation of a foundation in his name. When Ed Lowe died in October 1995 the groundwork had already been laid to ensure that his entrepreneurial legacy would live on. Through his philanthropic activities both with the foundation and elsewhere, he established a template for paying it forward, so that others could benefit from his generosity. Every great story has a beginning. Ours starts with Ed’s birth. From an early age Ed showed a curiosity for life that would later turn entrepreneurial. Slide 1940s 1960s 1950s 1930s 1970s 1980s 1990s 1920s Ed was a thinker and a tinkerer. As he matured he was keen to spot opportunities around him. Never afraid to hustle, his work ethic and moral compass were setting him on a path for future business success. Ed Lowe entered the Navy in 1942 and continued his entrepreneurial journey by selling labeling stamps to his crewmates while in the service. After leaving the Navy Ed returned to work for his father selling grease absorbents to local industries. Everything changed in 1947 when a new opportunity came knocking. As his success continued with the cat box filler Ed looked to expand his product portfolio to include a whole range of cat-related products. During this time, Ed bought his first plant for the sole purpose of processing the Fullers earth. Vertical integration was part of the key to Ed’s success. Business was good for Ed and warranted the construction of a new corporate headquarters in Cassopolis, Michigan. During this time Ed was also busy securing patents and trademarks for the assortment of new ideas he was bringing to market. Being number 1 in a number 2 industry was not something that Ed took lightly. Investing heavily in equipment, research, development and marketing, Ed aimed to stay at the top. More patents and trademarks were filed during this time in addition to some other grand ideas that never made it commercially. The 1980s saw the reinvention of his original product under the name Tidy Cat 3–a great commercial success that owed a lot to his marketing efforts. Continued product innovations kept his competitors at bay while he started thinking about what the future would hold, specifically the creation of a foundation in his name. When Ed Lowe died in October 1995 the groundwork had already been laid to ensure that his entrepreneurial legacy would live on. Through his philanthropic activities both with the foundation and elsewhere, he established a template for paying it forward, so that others could benefit from his generosity. Every great story has a beginning. Ours starts with Ed’s birth. From an early age Ed showed a curiosity for life that would later turn entrepreneurial. Slide 1940s 1960s 1950s 1930s 1970s 1980s 1990s 1920s Ed was a thinker and a tinkerer. As he matured he was keen to spot opportunities around him. Never afraid to hustle, his work ethic and moral compass were setting him on a path for future business success. Ed Lowe entered the Navy in 1942 and continued his entrepreneurial journey by selling labeling stamps to his crewmates while in the service. After leaving the Navy Ed returned to work for his father selling grease absorbents to local industries. Everything changed in 1947 when a new opportunity came knocking. As his success continued with the cat box filler Ed looked to expand his product portfolio to include a whole range of cat-related products. During this time, Ed bought his first plant for the sole purpose of processing the Fullers earth. Vertical integration was part of the key to Ed’s success. Business was good for Ed and warranted the construction of a new corporate headquarters in Cassopolis, Michigan. During this time Ed was also busy securing patents and trademarks for the assortment of new ideas he was bringing to market. Being number 1 in a number 2 industry was not something that Ed took lightly. Investing heavily in equipment, research, development and marketing, Ed aimed to stay at the top. More patents and trademarks were filed during this time in addition to some other grand ideas that never made it commercially. The 1980s saw the reinvention of his original product under the name Tidy Cat 3–a great commercial success that owed a lot to his marketing efforts. Continued product innovations kept his competitors at bay while he started thinking about what the future would hold, specifically the creation of a foundation in his name. When Ed Lowe died in October 1995 the groundwork had already been laid to ensure that his entrepreneurial legacy would live on. Through his philanthropic activities both with the foundation and elsewhere, he established a template for paying it forward, so that others could benefit from his generosity. Every great story has a beginning. Ours starts with Ed’s birth. From an early age Ed showed a curiosity for life that would later turn entrepreneurial. Slide 1940s 1960s 1950s 1930s 1970s 1980s 1990s 1920s Ed was a thinker and a tinkerer. As he matured he was keen to spot opportunities around him. Never afraid to hustle, his work ethic and moral compass were setting him on a path for future business success. Ed Lowe entered the Navy in 1942 and continued his entrepreneurial journey by selling labeling stamps to his crewmates while in the service. After leaving the Navy Ed returned to work for his father selling grease absorbents to local industries. Everything changed in 1947 when a new opportunity came knocking. As his success continued with the cat box filler Ed looked to expand his product portfolio to include a whole range of cat-related products. During this time, Ed bought his first plant for the sole purpose of processing the Fullers earth. Vertical integration was part of the key to Ed’s success. Business was good for Ed and warranted the construction of a new corporate headquarters in Cassopolis, Michigan. During this time Ed was also busy securing patents and trademarks for the assortment of new ideas he was bringing to market. Being number 1 in a number 2 industry was not something that Ed took lightly. Investing heavily in equipment, research, development and marketing, Ed aimed to stay at the top. More patents and trademarks were filed during this time in addition to some other grand ideas that never made it commercially. The 1980s saw the reinvention of his original product under the name Tidy Cat 3–a great commercial success that owed a lot to his marketing efforts. Continued product innovations kept his competitors at bay while he started thinking about what the future would hold, specifically the creation of a foundation in his name. When Ed Lowe died in October 1995 the groundwork had already been laid to ensure that his entrepreneurial legacy would live on. Through his philanthropic activities both with the foundation and elsewhere, he established a template for paying it forward, so that others could benefit from his generosity. Every great story has a beginning. Ours starts with Ed’s birth. From an early age Ed showed a curiosity for life that would later turn entrepreneurial. Slide 1940s 1960s 1950s 1930s 1970s 1980s 1990s 1920s Ed was a thinker and a tinkerer. As he matured he was keen to spot opportunities around him. Never afraid to hustle, his work ethic and moral compass were setting him on a path for future business success. Ed Lowe entered the Navy in 1942 and continued his entrepreneurial journey by selling labeling stamps to his crewmates while in the service. After leaving the Navy Ed returned to work for his father selling grease absorbents to local industries. Everything changed in 1947 when a new opportunity came knocking. As his success continued with the cat box filler Ed looked to expand his product portfolio to include a whole range of cat-related products. During this time, Ed bought his first plant for the sole purpose of processing the Fullers earth. Vertical integration was part of the key to Ed’s success. Business was good for Ed and warranted the construction of a new corporate headquarters in Cassopolis, Michigan. During this time Ed was also busy securing patents and trademarks for the assortment of new ideas he was bringing to market. Being number 1 in a number 2 industry was not something that Ed took lightly. Investing heavily in equipment, research, development and marketing, Ed aimed to stay at the top. More patents and trademarks were filed during this time in addition to some other grand ideas that never made it commercially. The 1980s saw the reinvention of his original product under the name Tidy Cat 3–a great commercial success that owed a lot to his marketing efforts. Continued product innovations kept his competitors at bay while he started thinking about what the future would hold, specifically the creation of a foundation in his name. When Ed Lowe died in October 1995 the groundwork had already been laid to ensure that his entrepreneurial legacy would live on. Through his philanthropic activities both with the foundation and elsewhere, he established a template for paying it forward, so that others could benefit from his generosity. Every great story has a beginning. Ours starts with Ed’s birth. From an early age Ed showed a curiosity for life that would later turn entrepreneurial. Slide 1940s 1960s 1950s 1930s 1970s 1980s 1990s 1920s Ed was a thinker and a tinkerer. As he matured he was keen to spot opportunities around him. Never afraid to hustle, his work ethic and moral compass were setting him on a path for future business success. Ed Lowe entered the Navy in 1942 and continued his entrepreneurial journey by selling labeling stamps to his crewmates while in the service. After leaving the Navy Ed returned to work for his father selling grease absorbents to local industries. Everything changed in 1947 when a new opportunity came knocking. As his success continued with the cat box filler Ed looked to expand his product portfolio to include a whole range of cat-related products. During this time, Ed bought his first plant for the sole purpose of processing the Fullers earth. Vertical integration was part of the key to Ed’s success. Business was good for Ed and warranted the construction of a new corporate headquarters in Cassopolis, Michigan. During this time Ed was also busy securing patents and trademarks for the assortment of new ideas he was bringing to market. Being number 1 in a number 2 industry was not something that Ed took lightly. Investing heavily in equipment, research, development and marketing, Ed aimed to stay at the top. More patents and trademarks were filed during this time in addition to some other grand ideas that never made it commercially. The 1980s saw the reinvention of his original product under the name Tidy Cat 3–a great commercial success that owed a lot to his marketing efforts. Continued product innovations kept his competitors at bay while he started thinking about what the future would hold, specifically the creation of a foundation in his name. When Ed Lowe died in October 1995 the groundwork had already been laid to ensure that his entrepreneurial legacy would live on. Through his philanthropic activities both with the foundation and elsewhere, he established a template for paying it forward, so that others could benefit from his generosity. Every great story has a beginning. Ours starts with Ed’s birth. From an early age Ed showed a curiosity for life that would later turn entrepreneurial.

Sustaining growth

In 1973 Lowe’s sold its silica plant. The following year it acquired a processing facility in Oran, Mo., and began construction for a large plant in Bloomfield, MO. Once completed, the Bloomfield, MO plant produced almost twice the combined production of plants in Paris, TN, and Olmsted, IL.

Improvements to facilities included:

  • Installing a 2,000 ton storage tank and air pollution control equipment at the Oran operation.
  • Conducting a packaging conversion at the Paris plant that substantially increased its packaging capacity for litter products.
  • Installing a new screening operation at the Olmsted plant that removed accumulated dust before litter products were packaged.
  • By the end of the decade, all operations related to production, marketing and distribution took place at a Lowe’s facility.

    Another milestone, Lowe’s launched an export initiative, and in 1977 executives traveled to Europe to conduct market research. Both the cat-box-filler and agricultural granule market appeared to have strong potential, and Lowe’s formulated a program to utilize the Olmsted and Paris facilities, both located on rivers, as water shipment points.

    Although Lowe’s concentrated on vertical integration during the 1970s, Ed Lowe couldn’t resist scratching his itch for innovation and created a number of new products and services. Many were outside the absorbent clay business, such as Frenchy Bucksaw, a company that produced pre-packaged firewood, and Lowe’s Executive Auction Service, which auctioned everything from furnishings to farm equipment to electronics. Ed also purchased the town of Jones, MI, and tried to develop it into a tourist attraction.

    Factoids