Firm re-creates nature, now eyes new marketA maker of...

INDUSTRY WATCH

March 05, 1995

Firm re-creates nature, now eyes new market

A maker of artificial trees, cacti, rocks and coral reefs -- whose work is seen in theme parks, resorts, malls and casinos -- is looking to sell its products to average homeowners.

Larson Co., based in Tucson, Ariz., recreates nature from materials such as steel bars, epoxies, liquid latex and polyurethane foam. The company now is offering a line of home products replicating redwood ceiling beams, saguaro cactus-ribbed spas and stone fireplaces.

Homeowners who want "that special texture, that endangered wood, that rare wood that you can't find anywhere else -- we've got it," says Harold Schifman, the company's president and chief executive.

Larson began with fake rock formations, brilliantly colored bTC aquarium seascapes and zoo habitats. It then moved into projects at theme parks and the like.

"They're the best thing next to Mother Nature," says David Rice, director of architecture and planning for the San Diego Zoo. "The things they do really do fool you."

Amid increasing concerns about the environment and the damage harvesting rare woods and other building products can have, Larson figures its faux redwood and other products will appeal to those looking to decorate in an earthy style.

NEWS IN BRIEF

* Century 21 offices of H. T. Brown Real Estate in Laurel and Columbia raised $7,900 at an art auction held to benefit the Easter Seal Society.

* Chartwell Homes selected Builders 1st Choice to handle sales and marketing of the Quincy Station development in Eldersburg.

* The National Association of Real Estate Appraisers has formed the Mi

nority Appraisers Council to address concerns of minorities. The main appraisers group, based in Arizona, has 13,000 members. For more information, call (602) 948-8000.

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