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ASTRUP CO.

ASTRUP CO., a distributor of fabrics to the awning, marine, casual furniture, and sports industries, was established in 1876 by Danish sailmaker Wm. J. O. Astrup, who had come to the U.S. and settled in Cleveland 10 years earlier. The company began as a manufacturer of sails for Great Lakes ships, but as sails became obsolete Astrup turned increasingly to the manufacture of other canvas products, especially the awnings which were growing in popularity with home and business owners. Describing himself as an awningmaker, by 1883 Astrup had moved his operations to 1114 Pearl Rd. (2937 W. 25th St.), which remained the company's location in 1995. In addition to manufacturing awnings, Astrup began to make and sell awning hardware; in the 1890s he added tents to his line of products. Incorporated in 1909 as the Astrup Co., the firm passed into the hands of one of the founder's sons, Walter C. Astrup, after the death of Wm. J. O. Astrup in 1915. By 1956 annual sales topped $10 million, and the Astrup Co. had become the country's largest manufacturer of awning hardware and distributor of awning fabric and canvas. After Walter Astrup's death in 1970, company leadership remained with the family, with 2 of his nephews, Kenneth W. Kirk and John D. Kirk, serving as officers. In 1983 the son of John D. Kirk, John H., took over as president. In 1995, with John H. Kirk still serving as CEO, Astrup employed 275 people, maintaining 11 warehouses across the U.S. and one in Canada.