Forenta recently celebrated 62 years of manufacturing pressing equipment in Morristown, TN, by hosting a breakfast for its employees and for members of the local Chamber of Commerce. In attendance were former Forenta presidents Lee White and Jerry Rose, Industrial Board Chairman Jack Fishman, local business leaders and city council members.
During the event, Ruth Laico, sales coordinator for Forenta, was recognized as the longest tenured employee at 48 years. Current Forenta President Rusty Smith shared the history between Forenta and its predecessor, the Forse Corporation (who started making equipment in the late 1920s in Anderson, IN). Throughout the 1960s, Forenta existed simply as a manufacturing contractor for Forse.
During the early 1970s, Forse went out of business due to the onset of polyester clothing and leisure suits. Since Forenta had many skilled manufacturing and technical employees, it survived the drycleaning downturn by manufacturing other products in its 88,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility.
After obtaining the intellectual property rights and customer lists from Forse, Forenta continued to manufacture a small amount of pressing equipment through the mid- 1970s. The only difference was that the Forenta logo and serial plate were now placed on the equipment. Fortunately, the drycleaning industry bounced back and Forenta was on the map as a producer and seller of pressing equipment.
The company went right to work upgrading the design of existing equipment and adding new equipment to its product line, including spotting boards, puff irons with steel bucks, a simplified form finisher and scissor drycleaning presses. In the coming years, Forenta even designed – and now manufactures – a line of water chillers and garment conveyors that are geared toward (but not exclusive to) the drycleaning industry.