A few months ago, we began to share the history of Louet North America, a family-owned company located just west of Montreal in Prescott, Ontario. In our first installment (found here), we shared the story of LNA’s creative vision through the guidance of Dave’s parents, Jan and Trudy Van Stralen. Today, we continue that story as Dave recounts the early years of the company. Enjoy!
In the 1980’s, the manufacturer of Louet equipment in Holland (Louet BV) established a Canadian company to distribute their products in North America. Jan Louet and his partner Clemens Classen, approached my parents, Jan and Trudy Van Stralen to run this company in 1989.
Trudy had been operating her own business, Hilltop Wools, but soon found she could not do both. She initially sold spinning fibers and some weaving yarns under the banner of Hilltop Wools, but streamlined the process under one roof – Louet – soon after taking on distributorship. In 1992 Jan and Trudy purchased Louet Sales from Louet BV.
During that time, I had left home for University and eventually joined the Canadian Airforce. I also met and married my wife Pam and we started our family.
While still serving in the military, I joined my parents in Washington DC for Convergence in 1992, helping them in the booth and driving truckfulls of looms…some good quality family time! It was a very positive show; we picked up the distributorship of Gaywool Dyes and Fibers and I also met Jane Stafford. Little did I know how integral this relationship would be towards the long-term success of Louet North America!
In 1994, my military career was at a crossroads, so I offered my services to my parents on a permanant basis; my other option was to go into computer programming. I had already been assisting them via remote access software working on databases and newsletters; they accepted my offer and I began my full-time employment for Louet Sales.
In our next installment, I’ll take you through my early years at Louet and how we came to manufacture knitting yarns.