Amy Brocato Pearson
Jacksonville Daily Progress
A crowd packed the sales floor of the Texas Basket Company factory store Thursday, waiting for the appointed hour when the 94-year-old company would receive a Texas Treasure Business Award from the Texas Historical Commission.
The Texas Treasure Business Award program honors businesses that have provided employment opportunities and supported the state’s economy for 50 years or more.
"It's great to be part of history like this," said Moon Swanson, whose family has owned the Texas Basket Company since its inception. "It places us in a historical context in the area and in the state."
The company owes its longevity, Swanson said, to "being able to adapt and change with the markets."
The factory currently employs about 100 people and produces no fewer than 10,000 baskets per day. The baskets are sold in every state in and internationally and can be found in retailers such as Michael's and Hobby Lobby. The Texas Basket Company also produces store retail display fixtures for companies including Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Brett Brewer, chairman of the board for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, opened the award ceremony, and introduced District 11 State Rep. Travis Clardy, who described the Texas Basket Company as a "fantastic business."
"These baskets are shipped all over the world and their buyers are a who's who list of international retail," he said.
State Sen. Robert Nichols was also on hand to honor the family owned and operated business.
"Celebrating this type of achievement is a real milestone and an indication of the business's importance to Jacksonville and the State of Texas," Nichols said. "I am particularly impressed with the Texas Basket Company's operation as a "complete industry," in that you start with a log and end up with a basket- what a rare thing in today's world."
The Texas Basket Company was founded in 1919 as part of the tomato trade, for harvesting, transporting, and storing fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes. It's now owned by Martin and Jackie Swanson, whom Clardy described as "careful caretakers and stewards of this business."
Martin Swanson thanked the assembled crowd, which included several members of the Cherokee County Historic Commission, for coming