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Granert's clothing factory

The photo to the right shows the hemp plant operated by the government on the property adjacent to the new Caroline Development. Originally, the factory was built by the U. S. Government to produce rope from hemp plants during World War II . The rope was supplied to the navy whose supply from the Pacific was cutoff by Japan. Many farmers in the area raised hemp for the plant. The hemp plant is a cousin to the marijuana plant and to this day the plant can be found along the roadsides in the country.

Bob Granert purchased the building in 1947 when his plant in Toluca burned down. The plant had its own airport, cafeteria for employees, and a retail display room. Men's clothing was manufactured in the plant for wholesale houses. They also manufactured tailor made suits and topcoats for men and women. Granert was a pioneer in mobile clothing stores.

Granert did things with daring. An aviation enthusiast, he used air transport whenever possible to dispatch his merchandise. Up through 1951 he staged an annual aerial roundup of friends and customers that outgrew the community. The last one in 1951 attracted 563 planes. At times more than 50 aircraft were in the air at once awaiting the signal to land. When they did come down there was hardly room for the planes to race to a stop without crashing into others on the ground. The event was abandoned as a safety precaution.

Pictured above is the hemp plant during World War II.

Granert did agressive advertising for his clothing. He advertised in The Pantagraph and on WBBM radio in Chicago to bring customers to the Minonk factory to buy their clothes.

Eventually, Granert sold the factory. In 1964 the Martha Maid Corporation bought the plant. Martha Maid manufactured ladies lounge wear, which included robes, dusters, negligees, culottes, shirts, and similar attire for the wholesale market. They closed down in 1974.

In 1976 American Cellulose Manufacturing, Inc. bought the plant. They manufactured a blowing and pouring type of cellulose fiber insulation. The factory was torn down in 1998 to make room for expansion of the Caroline Development.

The above picture shows the Bob Granert clothing factory.