Celebrating 70 Years in 2016
Kolcraft is a third-generation family owned and operated baby product manufacturer based in Chicago with facilities throughout the USA and internationally. Kolcraft’s story began in 1946 in Chicago when founder Leo Koltun began making pads for cribs, playards and high chairs for post-World War II babies.
During the 1950’s Kolcraft quickly expanded production into crib mattresses and would become the largest crib mattress manufacturer in the USA, a title the company still holds today. Leo’s son Sandy Koltun joined the business in 1954 after achieving fast-growing success. Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s Kolcraft created a line of crib mattresses that offered families a choice of firmness levels using innerspring coils or foam cores, creating one of the largest selections on the market.
In the mid-1970’s and early 1980’s Sandy expanded crib mattress production facilities from Chicago to new locations in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Philadelphia. In 1985, Kolcraft broke ground on its Aberdeen, North Carolina manufacturing plant that began manufacturing high chairs and playards. Over the next several years this 175,000 square foot facility would become Kolcraft’s number one crib mattress manufacturing plant.
Sandy was determined to strengthen the business and began to diversify into other baby gear categories throughout the next several decades. In 1980, Kolcraft launched the Carri-Cradle®, the first all-plastic combination of an infant carrier and rocker with a carry handle. This invention was Kolcraft’s foray into baby goods, travel and home gear that were becoming more popular in the U.S. By 1990 Sandy’s son Tom Koltun joined Kolcraft and a slew of brand marketing opportunities presented themselves. Collaborations and licenses with Playskool®, Snoopy®, and Carter’s® brands including Eric Carle™ and John Lennon™ collections were introduced with features, fashions and new product lines including car seats, strollers, travel systems, bassinets and walkers. In 1993 Kolcraft began a partnership with Sealy® Technology. Today, Sealy crib mattresses and bedding have become the best-selling and the most recommended brand in the USA, winning the Women’s Choice Award® for multiple years.
After Tom Koltun became President of Kolcraft in 1997, the new millennium that followed brought new changes and growth. Brands like Jeep® and Sesame Street® signed on with Kolcraft producing award-winning walkers and potty chairs in addition to bouncers, swings and toddler furniture. In 2005 Kolcraft launched the Contours® brand, which has won numerous consumer awards for its tandem stroller.
With the success of its mattresses and bedding, Kolcraft expanded into nursery furniture with a full line of cribs, toddler beds and dressers under the Mira Studios®, Sealy® and Kolcraft® brands.
In 2016, Kolcraft celebrates its 70th anniversary by helping families through their support of the March of Dimes with the “For the Love of Family Nursery Project”. Kolcraft will design and furnish a nursery for a family experiencing a premature birth who has not had time to create a safe nursery for their newborn. For years Kolcraft has supported the March of Dimes with donations over a hundred thousand dollars and hundreds of volunteer hours to support families affected by premature births or birth defects.
“At Kolcraft, everything we do, we do for the love of family. This 70 year milestone is not just about my grandfather, my father and the extended family of Kolcraft employees around the world. It’s really about the families we create products for. We put our hearts into making millions of families’ lives easier with high quality, innovative baby products,” said Tom Koltun. “Our partnership with the March of Dimes is also important to us to help fund important research programs to enable more families to have strong, happy babies.”