The biggest basket making company in the country is over a century old, and right here in East Texas

Texas Basket Company has been locally owned and operated in Jacksonville, Texas since 1919.

Now, over 100 years later, there are only a handful of commercial basket manufacturers in the nation and Texas Basket Company is the largest and most well-known.

“Texas Basket Company is an old manufacturing industry that makes wooden baskets, crates and display racks,” said Martin Swanson, president of Texas Basket Company.

The baskets are shipped to all 50 states and a few countries including Mexico, Australia, Germany and Japan.

Texas Basket Company’s earliest baskets were made for harvesting, transporting & storing fruits and vegetables – mainly tomatoes.

“Back during that time this was an extra large tomato growing, and peach growing area,” said Swanson. “Tomatoes were shipped all over the United States. Since then things have changed, and all of the basket companies factories, except ours, has gone out of business. So now we’re the lone survivor on the state of Texas with this type of production.”

Since the manufacturing plant started, much of the production was run off of steam. Today, that remains true. Texas Basket Company completes the entire basket process on site, each and every day.

“We start with a log, then take the bark off it and steam it over night,” said Swanson. “Then we make little pieces from the log, then assemble the baskets. The material is all wet during this time, so then we try it all. The next day we clean up and start all over again.”

Depending on the day, anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 baskets are made. You can view some their products online.

“It’s like a working antique,” said Swanson. “Everything is old here, and nobody makes basket machinery anymore and hasn’t since the 40s or 50s. So our basket machinery dates back to that time period.”

But like any successful company, the machine’s only go so far. It’s dedicated work and a good product that set the standard for a great product.

“One of the reason why we’re still here is because we have real good employees, long-time employees,” said Swanson. “I think basket making kind of gets in some people’s blood and they enjoy it. If we didn’t have the good people we have we probably wouldn’t be here. We really have good employees.”

Texas Basket Company is located at 100 Myrtle Drive in Jacksonville.

Their factory store is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mondays – Fridays and from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

You can purchase a wide variety of their baskets, along with other home good products inside the store.

You can visit Texas Basket Company online here.

And you can follow them on Facebook here.

Kendyl Turner

Kendyl Turner

Kendyl Turner writes, shoots and edits all stories for The East Texas Weekend. A Texan at heart, Kendyl was born and raised in Houston before venturing away to study Journalism and Spanish at The University of Mississippi. A few years later, Kendyl and her husband moved to East Texas where they’ve decided to make it home.