Russ was founded in 1963 and named after the founder Russell Berrie. Before starting his own business, Russell started out as a toy sales representative, who then began to design his own products. Russ started his business with only $500 and ran it out of a rented garage in Palisades Park, NJ. His first product to reach the shelves were the plush Fuzzy Wuzzies in 1964. By 1966 the company had exceeded one million dollars in annual sales. Passionate about the business of selling and about his products, Russ grew into a major world wide company and set the industry standard for customer service.
By the company's tenth anniversary, Berrie had established a company headquarters in Oakland, NJ as well as a distribution center in California. In the late 70's, Russ Berrie and Co., Inc. expanded Internationally in three different countries, this helped to grow and diversify the company. In 1982 the company was recognized by INC magazine as one of the top 500 fastest growing privately held companies in the US. By March 1984 Russ went public, trading shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol of RUS.
In the early 90's, Troll mania boosted the company's sales almost doubling, but in 1992, ironically, trolls are what shattered sales by 2 million dollars when the public lost interest. Although this was devastating to Berrie, he did not stop there. He sought out to find what was hot in the market place and started to develop more baby items, home decor, teddy bears, cards and impulse items.
In 1995 Russ Berrie introduced a new line of nostalgic bears called 'Bears from the Past' which became a favorite amongst many. In '98, Fortune magazine recognized Russ Berrie as the 34th Most Generous Philanthropist in the Country. As the promising small company kept growing and became ever so popular, in 2001 it was named one of the best 200 small companies in America by Forbes magazine. By 2002, the company acquired Sassy, Inc. and on Christmas day that year, Russell Berrie past away. Till this day, Russ Berrie and Co., Inc. is still a major seller in toys as well as other products and the employees honor the memory of it's founder by striving to meet the standard of excellence that Berrie had set as the leader for over forty years.
Russ Berrie makes a variety of different items including:
Reed & Barton