Manufacturing precision optics was the only trade Raymond LaCroix Sr. had ever known. During World War II, Mr. LaCroix was a foreman at Bell and Howell along with two other gentlemen, Amil Kreischer, and Karl Lambrecht Sr. All three men would go on to start companies that are still in business today. In 1947, Raymond LaCroix, Sr. began LaCroix Optical in rented quarters in Chicago, Illinois using surplus equipment bought at auction after the war. In 1960 he was able to purchase a building in the small farm town of Kirkland, Illinois. Two of the key employees hired in Kirkland were brothers Gerald and Danny Dale from Arkansas.
After several years of working away from their homes and families, the brothers voiced their desire to move back to Arkansas. To prevent the loss of two highly skilled craftsmen, Ray Sr. and his son Ray Jr. asked the brothers if they would be interested in opening a branch plant in Arkansas.
The Dales agreed, and in 1966, the first Batesville location was established. LaCroix continued to operate for 10 years as a multi-state corporation with a total of 25 employees. In 1976, the entire operation was moved to Batesville due in part to the strong work ethic and dedication of the Batesville area employees. The company was merged into a newly constructed building just north of town, which is still our home today.
Though LaCroix Optical has been in the same location since 1976, the facility has seen four major expansions. The most recent in 2017 added 13,750 square feet, which brought it to a total of 46,250 square feet. Our 107 employees average 12 years of work experience.
Ray LaCroix, Jr., who had been working for the company since 1961, took over leadership as President after the death of his father in 1985.
We are continually upgrading our manufacturing capabilities to meet the continually evolving needs of our customers. The use of conventional equipment and the latest state-of-the-art CNC machines are blended to give us the flexibility to produce both high-volume production and small prototype orders.
With the completion of the latest expansion, we will have the room to add new capabilities, including technology and workforce to meet the needs for the next generation of optical requirements.
In 2017, the company celebrated its 70th anniversary. To commemorate the past and to look forward to the future we changed our name to LaCroix Precision Optics. One thing that will not change is Raymond LaCroix Sr.’s original commitment to offering every customer: "Quality optics made to specification, unmatched service, and a fair price."