Smith News Company began during the early 1900's and has continued to evolve and expand during 4 generations of private ownership. It was started by two brothers, Dick and Ernie Smith, under the direction of their father E. W. Smith. The company served as the first magazine distributorship in Northern California and their first magazine was the Saturday Evening Post, which was delivered throughout San Francisco by horse cart.
Smith News Company experienced rapid growth in the vibrant and strong economy of San Francisco and California. As more magazines and periodicals came on the market and the growth trend continued, Smith News Company became one of the largest magazine distributors in the United States.
Entering The Souvenir Industry
Post cards and paperback books were added to the magazine line and business continued strong through the war years. In the early 1950's the magazine distributorship was sold, but the post card and paperback book business was left intact.
In 1955, Ken Glaser, Sr. and James Smith bought the latter portion of the business. The direction of the company changed to focus on the rapidly growing tourist market in San Francisco and California. They diversified into the souvenir and gift market which led to the start of a new division, Smith Novelty Company.
In the 60's, Ken Glaser,Sr. assumed control of the company and was joined by Sam Burruto as a partner. Ken,Sr. began traveling to Japan, Taiwan, and Korea to develop a network of manufacturers for importing specialty souvenir and gift products to the United States. During their partnership Smith Novelty Company soon became one of the leading importers of gifts and souvenirs in the Northern California area.
In 1969, Ken Glaser,Jr. the grandson of Dick Smith, joined the firm.
In 2001 SNCO purchased Chocolate Gallery adding chocolate and candy to its expanding souvenir line. In 2001 SNCO acquired Michael’s Company, a souvenir company based in Seattle, Washington. With the help and guidance of Michael Brewer, SNCO expanded its souvenir products to the Northwest.
In 2003, SNCO and Barbara Skurman (Luke-A-Tuke) entered into an agreement with Laurent Zilberberg to license their artwork to customers throughout the world. Today SNCO and Barbara Skurman’s artwork can be found in Paris, Dubai, Brazil and over 40 countries around the world.
In 2006, SNCO entered the growing Las Vegas, Nevada souvenir market with new and innovative merchandise. The company has grown and gained market share in Las Vegas and recently moved to a new warehouse in anticipation of continued growth. Smith Novelty Company continued to expand its business across the United States with major retailers, special attractions, airport concessionaires and wholesale distributors.
Smith Novelty Company has been recognized across the United States as a leader in designing new and exciting products for the souvenir market.