Niles materials manufacturer stresses the art in its craft
Product Designers Dale Howen and John Porubsky discuss a project at Porubsky's work station at Fibre-Craft in Niles. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Fibre-Craft Materials Corporation.
SPECIALTY: Arts-and-crafts supplies, floral supplies, doll supplies and decorative accessories.
LOCATION: 6400 W. Howard St.
Updated: August 20, 2012 1:54AM
Fibre-Craft Materials Corp. in Niles does much more than sell arts-and-crafts products.
The company, at 6400 W. Howard St., has a mission of making a difference in the lives of children by encouraging them to express themselves through art.
Fibre-Craft was established in 1953 and started out manufacturing wood fiber for handcrafting artificial flowers. In 1959 it started selling its products in mass-market retail outlets. Starting in 1974 the company was located near the Leaning Tower YMCA on Touhy Ave. before moving a few years ago to its current facility.
“We absolutely love being part of this community,” said CEO and owner John Abens. “Our current home epitomizes our philosophy of harmonizing efficiency, creativity and state-of-the-art technology. From a logistical viewpoint, especially in terms of product distribution, it is designed for easy access and high-volume shipments.”
Fibre-Craft is known for its unique arts-and-crafts supplies, floral supplies, doll supplies and decorative accessories.
“We design, develop and manufacture creative activities for kids,” said Donna Lichtenstein, marketing vice president.
The company is known for its foam-sticker activity kits, which are used for a variety of different projects. The foam stickers come in various colors, shapes, themes, sizes and finishes, such as glitter. They can be used in art projects or on large canvases, such as foam sheets, to create cards or fun scenes.
The foam letters are popular for the company, and are used to decorate and personalize art projects, children’s rooms, lockers and other spaces.
Similar to American Girl dolls, but not as costly, Fibre-Craft offers Springfield Collection dolls. The dolls are a brand of fashionable, 18-inch dolls. Each doll has its own style, personality and story.
“We really believe in the value of art as it relates to learning and education,” said Lichtenstein, adding that the products help students continue the same type of learning they receive at school at home.
She said it helps break down barriers in terms of communication, and that the company believes art fosters children’s imagination and boosts their self-confidence.
“Fibre-Craft is unique in the company’s dedication and belief in education, giving back to kids in the community and really focusing on creating arts-and-crafts activities kids love and can be successful at executing,” said Kiva Connor, new project manager.
The company frequently hosts classes in its office during Kids Day, during which it provides a fun day of art projects. During Kids Days children get to meet and work with designers on special projects, and also tour the warehouse.
“Teachers often tell us the kids, even after they have grown older and gone on other field trips, consider the visit to our Fibre-Craft headquarters the best field trip ever,” Connor said.
Connor added: “Our passion is simple: It’s kids. We live and breathe this philosophy.”