MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Flambeau, Chamber go way back

Factory worker makes plastic parts

Employee Ariel Guerrero of Baraboo works in Flambeau’s blow molding facility in Baraboo.

Flambeau’s connection to the Baraboo Chamber of Commerce dates back seven decades.
W.R. Sauey was looking for a new location for his young plastics company when he made a spur-of-the-moment lunch stop in Baraboo on his way from northern Wisconsin to Chicago in 1949. He stopped by the Chamber office but found it closed for lunch. Sauey approached a police officer, who called the Chamber executive at home. They met a few minutes later, and within a year Flambeau had a small Baraboo plant that employed 20 people.
Today, Flambeau operates 12 plants around the world and employs more than 1,075. Its parent, the Nordic Group of Companies, employs over 2,590 around the world, with over 1,100 of those in Sauk County.
Sauey borrowed money to start Flambeau in 1947, following family members into the plastics game. He found transportation of goods too slow in northern Wisconsin, and sought to relocate. The hinterland’s loss was Baraboo’s gain. Sauey and his family went on to create the privately held Nordic Group, which includes Flambeau, Seats Incorporated, Columbia Vehicle Group and Nordic Equity. Its facilities cover 1.4 million square feet of production space.
While the company’s most famed product is the Duncan Yo-Yo, today its key products include auto parts, duck decoys and art supply bins. Flambeau’s manufacturing capabilities include blow molding, injection molding, mold and tooling design/fabrication, and product design and production. It makes tackle boxes, washer fluid tanks, medical containers, and ArtBin storage cases, to name a few products.
The company operates three plants in Baraboo, plus facilities in five other U.S. states, Mexico and the United Kingdom. In addition, they have offices in Michigan and China. Its four-facet strategic platform rests on outstanding people, distinctive brands, unique products and operational excellence. Its core values are family, integrity, teamwork, knowledge and excellence.
Flambeau continues to be a family business, with the founder’s children leading the Nordic Group as executives. They continue to support the W.R. and Floy A. Sauey Family Foundation, which since 1998 has supported area organizations such as the Oschner Park Zoo, International Crane Foundation, Al. Ringling Theatre, Circus World, Hope House, People Helping People, Baraboo School District, Kids Ranch, Boys & Girls Club of West-Central Wisconsin, Helping Hands, Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter, Baraboo River Equine Assisted Therapies, CAL Center, St. Clare Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit, Baraboo Public Library, Habitat for Humanity, and North Freedom Elementary School Literacy Program.
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