Oriental Trading Company
Oriental Trading Company Logo
The Oriental Trading Company is a direct merchant of value-priced party supplies, arts and crafts, toys and novelties and school supplies. It was founded in 1932 as one of the United States' first wholesale companies. Orient Trading has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Internet Retailers and one of the Top 50 Catalog Companies. It is based in Omaha, Nebraska, and its majority owner is Berkshire Hathaway.
The company was founded as a gift shop in 1932 in Omaha, Nebraska by Harry Watanabe. The company expanded to 17 shops in the Midwest. During World War II, with restrictions against imports from Japan, the company shrank back to its Omaha base. Watanabe then bought a ceramic shop which made Kewpie dolls and other ceramic items.
In 1954 it resumed its imports from Japan and was a major carnival supplier and in 1956 it launched its first catalog.
In 1977 Watanabe's son Terry Watanabe became president and its focus shifted from carnivals to supplying party goods for churches, schools, retailers, and individuals.
On August 24, 2010, Oriental Trading Company via OTC Holdings Corp. declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Orient Trading acquired MindWare Holdings, Inc. in 2013 and SmileMakers in 2014. MindWare is a manufacturer, wholesaler, and direct retailer of "brainy toys for kids of all ages" that complements the Oriental Trading family of educational products. SmileMakers is the leading brand catering to the dental and healthcare markets.
- "About Oriental Trading". Oriental Trading. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
- "Metro/Region". Omaha.com. Retrieved 2010-09-28.[dead link]
- Oriental Trading Sold multichannelmerchant.com - June 13, 2006
- McCarty, Dawn (2010-08-25). "Oriental Trading Co. Files for Bankruptcy in Delaware". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
- Michael J. De La Merced (November 2, 2012). "Berkshire to Buy Oriental Trading Company". The New York Times.
- "Berkshire Hathaway to Acquire Oriental Trading Company" (PDF) (Press release). Berkshire Hathaway. November 2, 2012.
- Fastenberg, Dan (March 12, 2012). "Workers At Party Supply Company Far From Festive During 'Undercover Boss' Episode". AOL. Retrieved July 6, 2014.