Arthur Hasselbach, Sr started his company in Brooklyn, NY building model airplanes and opening a hobby store.
In 1956 Arthur got involved with the Boy Scouts of America and started making the original Pinewood Derby kits enjoyed by thousands of Scouts in the US and eventually around the world. Art founded Consolidate Models then for this new business adventure he was about to undertake.
In 1960, with the Pinewood Derby business booming, Art moved to Cranbury, NJ to be closer to his biggest customer the Boy Scouts which had moved to North Brunswick, NJ. While producing various models of Pinewood Derby kits, Arthur was still involved in other model kits for airplanes, boats and other hobbies which spawned the plastics business which is important for Humidi-Grow later.
With a thriving Pinewood Derby business and the experience gained from working with plastics for the model kits, it was a natural jump into a larger business for all sorts of plastic manufacturing. At this time the business split into two separate entities one going forward as CMI Plastics while the other became Beta Crafts, Inc. for the Humidi-Grow™ trays and Pinewood Derby business. The sons, Steve and Arthur, Jr., continued to build a successful plastics manufacturing business, but their dad never lost his love for his beloved orchids. While always being a successful business man, his time spent in the greenhouse was his outlet to the stress of the business.
Arthur Hasselbach Sr was always looking for ways to grow better Orchids. Knowing better humidity meant healthier and stronger plants, he came up with a novel idea at the time on how to grow better Orchids. Along with his close friend Walter Off (Waldor Orchids), they designed the first tray, now known as the HT-101. Because Art had a plastics manufacturing business, he was easily able to do this. Art and Walter soon realized that others loved the humidity trays and Beta Crafts could make these for sale to other orchid lovers. From that first HT-101 tray, eventually 6 different models of trays were designed to meet a variety of needs including Orchids, African Violets, Bonsai Trees, Cacti and "boots".
When Art Sr passed away in 2004, the Beta Crafts business naturally fell to his sons Arthur and Steve. In 2006, Steve Hasselbach bought out his brother Art and moved CMI Plastics to North Carolina. Art retained Beta Crafts and continued to run his father's business with the help of his wife Carol and daughter Michelle who had always been a big part of the business.
In 2019, Art and Carol finally decided it was time to retire and sold their beloved property in Cranbury, NJ which was their home and Beta Crafts' manufacturing site. While sad to leave Cranbury and start a new chapter in their life, they were happy that Beta Crafts and the Humidi-Grow business would continue with their daughter Michelle taking over the business. Michelle found a new home for Beta Crafts in our current location on Global Road in Northeast Philadelphia. While the transition to the new building has taken time and has been a challenge, it has been very rewarding. Michelle looks forward to expanding the business and looking for new opportunities for Beta Crafts. First among them is looking to bring back the Brown trays!