Est. 1906



The legacy of Smead defines quality, innovation, and excellence. Much like a strong material fabricated into a product to ensure its permanence, Smead has been held fast by the unquestionable leadership of strong-willed females since Ebba C. Hoffman took leadership. Growing up on a farm near Cannon Falls, Minnesota, Ebba lived a modest and earnest life. Her background undoubtedly gave her a strong work ethic and bold vision to become such a successful leader. After the unfortunate passing of Harold Hoffman, Ebba was in quite a challenging situation. Knowing that Harold had intended to pass the company to their children, Ebba decided to take on the challenges of running the business and save the company for her family. On November 15, 1955, the farm girl from Cannon Falls had walked into Smead's headquarters and took her place in the president's chair. Ebba embraced all employees and wanted to learn the ins and outs of the company. She was known for her common sense, hard-work ethic, optimism, and loyalty. Many thought Ebba would have to withdraw from the business and sell Smead off, but most office workers were delighted to see her push forward and keep the company en route to success. Smead integrated new ideas and technologies as the years progressed, and Ebba was responsible for Smead's most significant period of growth towards the 21st Century. From customizable labels and tags to self-adhesive fasteners, Smead set the pace on all-filing solutions, and in 1974, Smead

was named Wholesale Stationers Association Manufacturer of the Year. Ebba Hoffman considered Smead an extension of her own family. Apart from customer recognition and setting the curve within the industry standards, employee satisfaction was at an all-time high as many employees remained with Smead for most of their careers. In 1995, with more than $230 million in revenues, Ebba proudly stated, "Smead now ships much more product in just one week than it did that first year I assumed control of the company." By 1998, Mrs. Hoffman had advanced Smead to 44th on the top 500 women-owned businesses list. That same year, she gracefully bowed out of the presidency, letting her daughter Sharon Avent take over as President and CEO. To no surprise, Ebba would still visit the office from time to time to make sure the transition of the presidency was seamless and employees were content. In February 1999, after a brief illness, Ebba Hoffman passed away. Her legacy lives on at Smead and with everyone and everything she touched, even those who never knew her.


1945 Smead plant established in Logan, Ohio

1953 Smead office and

1947 McDonald's first hamburger stand

1950 Charlie Brown created

warehouse established in Chicago, Illinois


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