Mustad Purchases St. Croix Forge

by Fran Jurga

Published in the May 1999 Issue of Anvil Magazine

Mustad, Inc., announced on March 29 that St. Croix Forge of Forest Lake, Minnesota, is the newest addition to its family of US-based companies.

“We are pleased to welcome St. Croix Forge to the Mustad ‘family,’ and we are very excited by the opportunities this acquisition brings to Mustad,” stated Mustad USA president Carlos Lara recently. “The Philosophy of the Mustad Group is clear: we are committed to this industry and to providing the highest standards of service and quality in our products. St. Croix Forge fits perfectly into that philosophy.”

St. Croix Forge is the largest manufacturer of ready-made horseshoes in North America and has been owned by the Carlson family since 1984. The talented St. Croix family — led by tool-and-die maker Curt and his four sons Ken, Bob, Mike and Clint — set out to build a better drop-forged horseshoe and within a few years created a product selection that found mass acceptance in the US market.

St. Croix Forge operates three manufacturing shifts each day and exports shoes around the world. The firm employs 96 people on its manufacturing, technical, and administrative staff.

Landmarks in St. Croix’s accomplishments include forging clipped shoes, rolling toes, making wider-webbed shoes, and creating “European”-style front and hind patterns that were sized, punched, and designed for the feet of American-bred horses. In recent years, St. Croix began manufacturing hand tools for horseshoers, and operates a large wholesale operation of hoof-care products distribution for other manufacturers, including Mustad and Capewell.

Mustad, known as “The Hoofcare People,” is the world’s largest manufacturer of horseshoe nails and hoofcare-related products. Mustad’s Hoofcare’s corporate headquarters are in Switzerland, with major manufacturing activities in Sweden and South America, among other locations. In America, Mustad is based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, where it manufactures Capewell and Cooper Horse Nails.

St. Croix general manager Clint Carlson will remain with the company, and says that the sale should have no effect on farriers’ access to shoes or tools, or to the quality of service and products offered by St. Croix Forge. “Very little will change at either the factory or the office,” Clint said, “and Mustad will be able to provide valuable assistance to maximize the national and international growth surge that St. Croix Forge has been experiencing. The spirit that has driven St. Croix Forge in the past will continue to drive it in the future.”

Mustad echoed Clint Carlson’s pledge that little will change in the way St. Croix conducts business or markets its products. “In general, St. Croix will act as an autonomous company, supported by the business infrastructure of Mustad,” Lara stated. “Carlos Xifra, a long-time Mustad manager from Brazil, has been appointed general manager of St. Croix Forge in Minnesota. However, Clint Carlson and his brothers will remain on board as part of the team. They have made St. Croix a leading company in the industry, and their participation and expertise are highly valued.”

St. Croix’s spirit has often matched Mustad’s philosophy of supporting education and philanthropy within the horsehoeing industry. Both firms are key sponsors of events and programs that benefit horseshoers and have been generous in financial support for the study of the horse foot science and horseshoeing’s role in the health and athletic ability of horses.

“As a team, we will continue to work hard to provide better service to the industry,” Lara concluded. “This is a great step forward for both companies, and for the entire hoofcare industry.”

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