John Renaker's Mom, Moss Renaker, worked for a pottery in Monrovia called Walker Potteries. Her boss, Joe Walker, agreed to teach John about the pottery business. Maxine's Dad, Ole Hagen, agreed to build the young couple their first factory. Ole who was a carpenter by trade, went to Oregon to get a load of lumber at wholesale cost and he and his brother, Arne worked every weekend for months to build a combination factory and apartment. In gratitude, John and Maxine named their new company Hagen-Renaker.
So, on Easter Sunday, 1946, the family and their fledgling company moved to Monrovia. The company first produced elaborately decorated plates and butter pats and shadow boxes. They were selling well but there were difficulties with them related to firing and shipping.
John Renaker noticed a small
duck that Maxine had on her work bench. She was a Camp Fire Girl
leader, and she had designed it for the kids. He saw potential in it
and put it on the bottom of the company's order sheet. When he saw how
it sold, he decided to change direction and produce small figurines."
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