The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is proud to announce the C=Current theme in the award winning "Story of Us: The Pikes Peak Region A – Z."
You can explore this story in person at the CSPM today or online at www.cspmstoryofus.com.
From a home-based business to a household name, the Loo Family built a direct marketing empire and the third largest greeting card company in the country. And, despite employing thousands of workers over several decades, they fostered a family-like atmosphere where workers from the factory floor to the executive suite felt valued and supported. As former Current President and CEO John Medved noted, “Throughout the company’s history, the Loo Family repeated that the secret to good business was hiring good people.”
In 1947, artist and lithographer Orin Loo designed and printed 10 Christmas cards. He placed them in a black photograph album from Woolworth’s and took orders from stationary stores in Colorado Springs. From the start, Looart was a family business. Orin used the sunroom in their home as his art studio and printed on a press in the garage. Miriam Loo filled orders on the dining room table, and their children delivered packages to the Post Office after school.
In 1950, Miriam had a unique idea of how to sell one of Orin’s new products, the “Post-A-Note,” through direct marketing to schools, churches, and community groups. With a $1,500 loan from her father, Miriam named her new company Current and operated it out of the basement of the family’s home in the Broadmoor area. In a 1983 interview, Miriam set the record straight about the origins of Current, “Some people have said that I started Current as a hobby. . . phooey on that. We were looking at how to pay the grocery bills and clothe three boys. Current was started as a necessity.”
After graduating from University of Kansas in 1961, eldest son “Dusty” Loo returned home to help his mother run Current. Middle son Gary served in the Army and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado before going to work for his father at Looart. They moved the businesses out of the family home and expanded on their mother’s original direct marketing idea.
Explore the "Story of Us: The Pikes Peak Region from A-Z"
In 1967, Looart and Current were merged with sons Dusty and Gary at the helm. Current flourished with new product lines including valentines, a line of cookbooks developed by Miriam in the Current test kitchens, a wedding line, wrapping paper, calendars, and numerous collectibles. Twenty years later, on December 31, 1986, Dusty and Gary sold Current to the American Can Company for $115 million and put themselves out of a job.
But their work in our community was not done. The Loo Family continues to leave an indelible mark on the Pikes Peak region. Their generous philanthropy and investment in Colorado Springs has resulted in numerous programs, facilities, and opportunities for residents and visitors alike.