On November 8, 2012 at the ArtEgg lecture I gave at the Cabildo, I had the goodfortunate to make the acquaintance of Mr. Philip “Flip” Frank, Jr., the grandson of CharlesFrank, the owner of L. Frank and Company, who purchased the building c. 1964. Flipintroduced himself prior to my lecture and told me how the company got its slogan, “EverybodyLoves a Good Egg.” I ended up including Flip in my lecture, inviting him to the podium to tell the audience the story of the slogan during the course of my presentation. I was fortunate enough to arrange an interview with Flip, where we met at ArtEgg Studios on December 19,2012.
Flip began working for his family’s company around the age of ten or eleven, when he would come in on weekends and holidays to help with “Simple little things. . .” like taking weights, where cases of products, such as chickens, were labeled with the varying weights of each pallet. Charles Frank moved his operation, L. Frank, from its prior location at Poydras and Tchoupitoulas to Square 596, when Flip was fourteen.
When the company moved its operations, Flip would be dropped off by his father, Philip,Sr., at 1001 S. Broad and would do a variety of tasks from tearing out walls to hauling trash.The building, a former tomato warehouse, had been vacant at the time of purchase. Flip recalls barrels of rotten tomatoes left on the loading dock, “. . . that smelled pretty bad.” Flip remembers how his mother would place newspaper on the back seat of the car before Flip got into the car, “. . . because I’d be so dirty.”
Upon taking possession, the building underwent some renovation, with offices added and at least one cooler added (the “H” room, the current home of Studio 101). Part of the paneled office were still extant when Dr. Dyer took possession of the building. In the “E” room, located in the back of the warehouse, eggs were stored on pallets prior to “candling.” Candling is the process where the grade of the egg is determined, when the egg is passed over a light (formerly a candle, hence the term) and given grades of AA, A, B and so on. Eggs lower than an Agrade were cracked and processed as liquid eggs. After candling, the eggs would go through a further procedure where the eggs “. . . would go over little scales and one would kick out all the jumbo, all the extra-large, all the large, leaving the small. So they’d each go into a different little avenue, where they’d be packaged based on their size.” Flip has a photo of this process of candling, but as it is the property of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture, copyright permission is needed before the photo can be used in this project.
Flip continued to work at the company during the weekends and holiday breaks throughout his schooling, including his years spent at Tulane University where he received his bachelor’s degree in math and economics. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Flip entered the Navy, continuing a family tradition that saw his grandfather, Charles Frank serving in theMerchant Marines and his uncle, Charles Frank, Jr., and his father, Philip Frank, Sr., serving in the Navy. Flip served in the early 1970s on the East Coast, spending time in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, working as a communications officer and leaving the service as a Lieutenant.
During his time in the Navy, Flip, while driving through North Carolina, “. . . passed inthe country a little egg farm and they had a sign on the front of it that said, ‘Everybody Loves aGood Egg.’” He brought the slogan to his father, who liked the catch phrase, using it onsignage, packaging, bags, hats and bumper stickers. “We had a whole theme. . .around “Everybody Loves a Good Egg.”” says Flip. According to Flip, “It was an easy thing toremember.” It proved to be a good choice as the phrase is still recognizable today andoccasionally used in ArtEgg projects. )
After leaving the Navy in 1973, Flip joined the company as the sales manager, while attending Tulane at the same time, graduating with his MBA in economics and marketing. Upon his father and uncle’s retirement in 1983, when the company merged with Loubat (becoming Loubat-L. Frank), Flip became Vice President of Sales and Marketing. At the time of the merger, the company decided to do business as “American Beauty,” on the advice of local advertising agency Peter Mayer Advertising, as this name would be more easily recognizable to customers than Loubat-L. Frank.
Flip is a fourth-generation grocery wholesaler, who is currently the Regional Vice President of National Distribution Sales for Ventura Foods. His great grandfather, Leon Frank, first formed L. Frank and Company in 1892. According to Flip, his great grandfather cornered the egg market, not once, but twice, sometime during the 1920s or 1930s, a difficult thing to accomplish.
More of Flip and L. Frank’s story will be found in the manuscript of the history, to be completed by June first of this year. Next month, we’ll be taking a look at the concept of Public History and how it applies to the ArtEgg project.