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Friedman Bag Company Celebrates Over Seventy Years of Operation

Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard

Mr. Speaker, today I congratulate the Friedman Bag Company for over seventy years of continuous operation in my congressional district and to highlight its leadership as a responsible corporate citizen.

In 1927, four Russian immigrant brothers started a small bag manufacturing company in the heart of Los Angeles. Sam, Saul, Harry, and Morris Friedman fled Imperial Russia with their family in search of freedom, settling temporarily in Mexico until they were granted permission to enter the United States. Over the years, Friedman Bag Company grew almost as quickly as the city around it.

In many ways, the founding and growth of Friedman Bag Company personifies our nation's immigrant experience. The company was born from an immigrant family's dream to provide their children with a better life. The Friedmans succeeded, eventually becoming one of the largest suppliers of textile and polyethylene bags in the West. Their bags were primarily used for agriculture products such as Idaho potatoes, walnuts, and other crops such as carrots and lettuce from the Central Valley of California.

But like many manufacturing companies in the United States, fierce competition from lower cost producers, in countries like China, eventually threatened the survival of Friedman Bag Company. To endure, the company needed to change and adapt to the new economy, and the successful effort was led by two sons of the founding members.

Friedman Bag Company desperately needed to invest money in new equipment. Company workers were still sewing burlap and mesh bags by hand. Morale and sales were suffering. Having never taken on debt financing in its history, the company embarked on a somewhat radical and risky venture to make sure it could remain competitive. Working with a financial institution that recognized its special history as a family business, and overcoming internal and external challenges, Friedman Bag Company secured the resources to continue its operations in the 33rd Congressional District.

Friedman Bag Company also worked with the mayor and city council to consolidate operations, ultimately bringing more jobs to Los Angeles. Today, Friedman Bag Company employs more than 250 people, with operations in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. The company's morale has soared as its future prospects have brightened. Friedman Bag Company is now firmly-positioned so a third generation of the Friedman family can continue the dream started by their family's ancestors.

I am proud of Friedman Bag Company's long tenure in southeast Los Angeles. Their efforts to modernize and adapt to an ever-changing economy in order to stay competitive are to be commended. Many men and women in my congressional district have worked at Friedman Bag Company, supporting their families and contributing to our community. I congratulate Friedman Bag Company for over seventy years of success, which have epitomized the contributions to America made by our immigrant community, and I wish them many more years of successful operation to come.

[Taken from the Congressional Record, 20 September 2000, page E1542.]