A North Judson business was honored for 100 years of operation by the Starke County Economic Development Foundation Thursday. American Oak Preserving Company was founded by Frederick and Charley Vorm in 1916, specializing in the preservation of oak leaves for decorative uses.
During Thursday’s Prospectus and Achievement Celebration, Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver noted that the company has experienced continuous growth over the past century. “They still manufacture not only in North Judson, but they have manufacturing facilities in Mexico,” he said. “They have a sister company in Canada. They market more things than you could think of. I know they are huge marketers and have shelf space in Walmart and that sort of thing. Their products come from all over the world: Kenya, Italy, China, Philippines, Vietnam, and other areas.” Current products include a variety of dried floral and leaf decorations, as well as other items.
American Oak remains in the Vorm family today. President and CEO Charles Vorm is the grandson of one of the company’s founders. He accepted a plaque on behalf of the company Thursday. “My uncle’s here,” he said. “He informed me today that he was 10 years old when the company started, so I guess it’s quite an honor for him to still be with us and to join us. On behalf of the Vorm family, I want to thank all the people that have worked for us all these years. Thank you very much.”
American Oak was one of 17 manufacturers taking part in Thursday’s Manufacturers Day event at Knox Middle School. It gave seventh graders from around Starke County the chance to learn about each company, as well as the skills necessary to pursue careers in manufacturing.