Tuesday, April 5, 2011

1955 Floyd Morlock

Two articles in an issue in early 1955 of The Fowlerville Review, published by Richard Rudnicki, pertained to Floyd Morlock, basket-maker. They are as follows:

Businessman of the Month -- Floyd Morlock, owner of Morlock's Basket Works, has been selected as businessman of the month.

Floyd was born in Conway township, November 2, 1901. While residing with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Morlock, on their farm on Sherwood road, Floyd became interested in the study of basket-making, due to a physical handicap preventing him from participating in the farm work. In 1935, he started to make baskets, having gathered his knowledge of the work through a book study of his own.

In a short time, he found he needed a room for this purpose, so erected a small building on the farm. His first products were of the market and covered picnic-type baskets. Because of their small market area, he soon transferred to florist-type baskets. Shortage of space for his work was again a problem, so he built a 20x30 building.

In 1941, because the war made a shortage of materials, business was slow, but in 1945, Mr. Morlock bought and moved into the north half of his present location on South Grand Avenue. Business increased so that in 1953, he bought the south half of the building. The 20x30 building was also moved in from the farm as an addition.

There are now eight employees at the Basket Works and Mr. Morlock not only makes thirty different styles of florist's baskets, but has also started to make metal containers for cut flowers. Many of the materials used in the making of these baskets is shipped from Hong Kong, China and Argentina, South America. He has two salesmen on the road and is shipping orders to six different states, Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, and all over Michigan. This week an order of 500 is being delivered to one customer.

It is through many years of hard work on the part of Mr. Morlock that this interesting business has grown to its present largeness in size.

Mr. and Mrs. Morlock have pleasant living quarters in the building.

Mr. Morlock is a member of the Oddfellow Lodge. Mrs. Morlock is a member of the village library board and active in the work of the King's Daughters, V.F.W. and American Legion Auxiliaries.

The Review hopes that interviews of this type will better acquaint the public with the business people of the village.

And, Basket Works Struck By Fire -- Losses climbed into the thousands of dollars as what could have been one of the worst fires in Fowlerville raged Friday night.

The addition at the Morlock Basket Works, which serves as their painting room, literally burst into flames when shorted electrical wires caused the original fire, when these flames hit the paint on the walls and floor, it fairly exploded.

Thanks to Kenneth Godfrey, who heard and saw the explosion, the flames were quickly subdued by the Fowlerville Fire Department, holding the loss to a minimum.

In addition to the building loss, several hundred baskets, which were being readied for shipment Monday morning, were ruined.

The basket-works building was formerly located at about where the south part of Curtis Grocery parking lot now stands. In the 1970s, the building was torn down to make room for this parking lot when the grocery story was Frank's Foodliner.

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