A skilled workforce, steady supplier base and aggressive economic development initiatives have kept century old companies like OshKosh B’Gosh from even considering looking elsewhere.
Doug Hyde remembers how much fun it was as a tyke to visit his father’s office. The rambling OshKosh B’Gosh Inc.
headquarters and clothing manufacturing facility in downtown Oshkosh was a maze of conveyor belts and shiny chutes between floors.
“I used to crawl in these tote boxes and ride all over the building. It was really kind of a neat thing when you were 5 or 6 or 7,” recalls Hyde, whose family built a company that’s made this Wisconsin town a household name.
Founded in 1895 as a small manufacturer of adult workwear, OshKosh B’Gosh made its national debut in 1962 when another Oshkosh corporate mainstay, the Miles Kimball Co.
mail order firm featured OshKosh B’Gosh children’s overalls in its national catalog. Today OshKosh B’Gosh is a premier maker of clothing for children up to 10 years old. The company employs about 3,500 worldwide, including some 300 in the corporate headquarters building where Hyde once took his joy rides. In 2005, the company joined the Carter’s family of children’s brands. Together, they represent on of the oldest, most-recognized names in children’s apparel.
As for the company that helped make OshKosh B’Gosh famous: Miles Kimball mails more than 70 million catalogs annually, offering its customers cards, holiday items, home décor, toys and games, collectibles, apparel and more.
Founded in 1917, Oshkosh Truck Corp.
, remains a fixture of the Oshkosh business community. The manufacturer of defense and commercial trucks and truck bodies employs about 6,000 worldwide with dealers and distributors in about 40 countries. In July 2002 listed its common stock and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bemis High Barrier Flexible Packaging Group
is located in Oshkosh and employs about 3,000 in the area. Seven separate Oshkosh companies under the Bemis umbrella produce plastic packaging for foods like bacon and cheese, snacks, candies, bulk foods and pet foods. The company also produces medical packaging as well as overwrapping for consumer products such as toilet paper and diapers. Parent company Bemis generates some
$2.3 billion in international sales.