Former Duncan Ceramics company in Fresno sold to new owners

Longtime Fresno company Duncan Enterprises has been purchased by a New York investment firm, but will continue to operate in Fresno.

The company, founded in 1946 as Duncan Ceramics, is changing its name to iLoveToCreate as part of the change.

The company is best known these days for products such as fabric paint, tie-dye kits, glue, and other craft supplies. They are sold at big box stores like Walmart and Michaels under brands like Tulip, Aleene’s, ColorShot, Scribbles and Puffy.

Most of the company’s assets were purchased by Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation, a private investment firm in Poughkeepsie, New York, said Duncan chairman and chief executive Larry Hermansen.

“They bought the products, the brand, the website, the team that goes with it,” he said.

The Duncan family still runs the business and still owns the colorful Fresno headquarters on Shields Avenue. DKM has signed a long-term lease for the property, an agreement which will also retain the 130 employees.

No one was fired, he said.

“We will still be based in Fresno, no real changes fundamentally in the business,” Hermansen said. “I can’t stress enough how positive it is for the team.”

Hermansen declined to say how much the company sold for, or give details about what prompted the company to sell.

However, Duncan chairman Larry Duncan is retiring, he noted.

“It’s time for him to move on and now there’s a new owner in place who wants to make significant investments in growing the business,” Hermansen said.

DKM is a holding company that tends to hold onto its business for the long term, he said. It also owns Plaid, a major player in the craft paint business, although Duncan and Plaid will remain separate companies.

Duncan Ceramics was founded in a family garage and quickly grew into a large company specializing in ceramic glazes. This part of the business eventually declined and the last was sold in 2020.

Duncan has instead focused on growing the DIY and craft side of his business around the world.

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Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A journalist for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other economic news. She has a journalism degree from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.

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