The distinctive Duncan Enterprises campus at Shields and Clovis avenues is seen in this Google Earth image.

published on January 14, 2022 - 10:50 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

A four-generation Fresno family business has sold its iconic arts-and-crafts business that has colored the community since 1946.

Duncan Enterprises has sold its crafts business and associated brands to New York-based private investment company Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corp. (DKM), the company recently announced. 

The newly acquired business will continue to operate in Fresno under the name iLoveToCreate. More than 130 people work at the distribution center that supplies all of the major big-box and online retailers with products including tie-dye, fabric paint, adhesives and spray paint for projects.

The products are sold to do-it-yourselfers under brand names including Tulip, Aleene’s, ColorShot, Scribbles and Puffy. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for iLoveToCreate to continue its leadership position in the industry and, with the resources of DKM, to develop new and exciting creative lifestyle products for the whole family to enjoy,” stated iLoveToCreate President and CEO Lawrence Hermansen, who will continue to lead the company.

DKM has investment holdings in the craft, aluminum, semiconductor and recreational vehicle industries. It bills its strength as “developing family businesses, with solid entrepreneurial management teams, into powerhouse competitors in their field of expertise through a concentration on customer service, product innovation, improved productivity, and strategically deployed capital.”

Rob Dyson, chairman and CEO of DKM, said, “Along with Plaid Enterprises, a long time holding of DKM, the acquisition of iLoveToCreate extends our commitment to the craft industry. With their iconic brands, both companies have consistently created products and projects that are easy to use and fun to make for people of all ages. We look forward to assisting Hermansen and his team in taking iLoveToCreate to the next level.”

Duncan Enterprises was founded in 1946 by Erma Duncan as a ceramic arts company in Fresno. With help from Erma’s husband Lee and sons Bob and Dick, It expanded out of a family garage into a Blackstone Avenue studio. It evolved into a wholesale distributor and soon began creating its own art supply products. A distribution center at Shields and Clovis avenues opened in 1961. In 1983, the third generation of the Duncan family took over when Bob’s son Larry was promoted to president/CEO and Bob became chairman of the board.

Duncan Enterprises was the 2016 winner of the California Family Business Award from the Institute for Family Business at Fresno State.

In 2020 Duncan Enterprises sold its pottery-related businesses Color Me Mine and Chesapeake Ceramics.

Today, Larry’s son Hawk Duncan serves as president of Duncan Enterprises, representing the fourth generation of the family business. Larry and Hawk will continue to operate Duncan Enterprises as a holding and real-estate management company, according to a news release.

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