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The Lisa Frank Factory Is a Fading 90s Relic

Do you remember trends from the 90s? Lisa Frank was a household name during the time that made heads turn. Now, the factory in Tucson has a resemblance to a ghost town. 

Keep reading to find out what happened to the factory and Lisa Frank’s empire. And if this is piquing your curiosity, we’ll let you in on how you can see the factory. 

Let’s dig in! 

Who Is Lisa Frank?

Lisa Frank is a businesswoman whose company grossed over $60 million annually in the 90s. You may remember her slogan, “You gotta have it.” She was known for manufacturing and selling school supplies such as stickers, folders, pencil cases, erasers, and Trapper Keepers with funky designs. Any kid who grew up in the 90s will remember Trapper Keepers, a popular notebook to bring to the classroom. 

The designs that donned Lisa Frank merchandise were whimsical and unique. From unicorns to glitter, the variety was colorful and eye-catching. Looking back on them now, kids of the 90s will have some nostalgia. You would find the designs in nearly every school you walked into back then.

What Is the Lisa Frank Factory? 

The Lisa Frank factory was once a booming manufacturing hub on Lisa Frank Avenue in Tucson, Arizona. The company’s products were designed and developed in the 320,000-square-foot building.

Around 500 people were employed at the factory, making it a large employer in southeast Arizona. But by 2013, the company only had a handful of employees left at the factory before it shut down permanently. The building has been empty ever since and sits for sale. 

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Kid writing with school supplies
Unleash your inner 90s nostalgia by visiting the abandoned Lisa Frank Factory.

Why Was the Lisa Frank Factory Famous? 

The factory is famous because of the Lisa Frank company’s magnitude. The business was such a big deal in the 90s (selling more than $60 million each year) that everything associated with it became famous, including its factory.

The building wasn’t just another warehouse in Tucson. There were bright colors and a unicorn statue by the front entrance. It was an iconic piece that people thought would be around for the long run. 

Most of all, Lisa Frank’s designs bring back memories of the 90s. Those bright colors, rainbows, glitter, and bold designs were new and exciting. Waiting for the first day of school to start to see what stickers and pencils your friends have was a momentous occasion. And the Lisa Frank company was a part of those memories because their designs captured America. 

Is the Lisa Frank Factory Abandoned?

The Lisa Frank manufacturing building is now empty. There are no employees that work at the factory or manufacturing happening. It’s been for sale for many years and will likely sit empty until sold.

While Lisa Frank still has a company, there is no manufacturing today at Lisa Frank Inc. When asked by journalists what the company’s nature is today, Frank refused to comment and didn’t do interviews. She has also shied away from the media, and no one has seen her in public. Lisa’s mysteriousness adds to the intrigue surrounding the abandoned factory.  

Unicorn balloon in the style of Lisa Frank.
Fans of cute animals and bright colors will recognize the vibrant Lisa Frank designs.

Can You Visit the Lisa Frank Factory? 

You can drive by the Lisa Frank factory and walk up to a fence around the parameter to see the building. Since the building is empty and for sale, it’s not there for public viewing or tours. The once busy factory now has paint fading and chipping on the exterior and plants growing in the parking lot. It now has an eerie look of an abandoned lot.

Pro Tip: After driving by the Lisa Frank Factory, check out these 9 Best Things To Do in Tucson, Arizona.

Where Is the Lisa Frank Hotel? 

The upscale Barsala Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif., did a pop-up Lisa Frank room in partnership with Guests could rent the room for two weeks in 2019. The room had bright colors with dolphins, leopard and zebra prints, and other animals.

And the bathroom had a seascape with a mermaid rug and murals of blue and pink dolphins. Walking into the room, you could feel the 90s. Best of all, the hotel stocked the desk with Lisa Frank pencils, stationery, and more.

Is It Worth Driving By the Lisa Frank Factory? 

Anyone who grew up in the 90s is likely to remember the Lisa Frank trend. Mention Trapper Keeper, and you know what we’re talking about! Driving by the Lisa Frank factory for a peek at the relic might not be worth it for everyone, but if you’re in Tucson, go for it. At the very least, it’s likely to spark conversation about the school supplies you had and the unique designs from Lisa Frank products.

Did you have Lisa Frank products when you were a child? You might want to go check your memory boxes to see if you still have something! Also, if you have a Trapper Keeper tucked away in storage, we would love to see a photo of that.

Would you visit the Lisa Frank Factory on a road trip? Tell us in the comments!

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