More than likely, the names Thadeus Osgood and Imperial Paper Products don’t mean a whole lot to you. Mr. Osgood makes it his business to keep it that way. A “shadow backer” of this year’s inaugural One Spark festival, Osgood and Imperial requested no donor recognition and minimal public disclosure of their involvement.
Why wouldn’t Osgood and Imperial Paper want to be recognized?
When I found myself asking this same question, I went to the Hall of Public Records to do some research.
I found the following information to be very useful.
Imperial Paper Products ooperates primarily as a business-to-business operation, out of the public eye. The company has absolutely no retail sales, except for one product division: foam display boards. And this market is all but dead except for during science fair season.
“You’ll get your rare ‘Invention Convention’ or last-minute trade show customers,” Fred Swarsnson, a salesman at a local Office Depot told me, “But, science fair season is really where the money is for foam display boards.”
Could it be that the One Spark festival is little more than a clever ruse to sell foam display boards? Thadeus Osgood did not respond to requests for comments on the issue and representatives of Imperial Paper Products did not return my calls.
When I dug into the company’s public financial records, I was amazed to find that Imperial profited $5M in a single one-week period. Which week was this? You guessed it: the week right before One Spark.
I asked Fred Swarnson if he saw an uptick in foam display board sales at his Office Depot location and of course there was. “That week was like, well like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and I’ve been here 38 years. Really, it was almost like the Fall of 1988, when Flight of the Navigator and Short Circuit came out in the same week and science projects were due the following Monday, the perfect storm.”
If you do not believe in conspiracy theories, do not read any further.
I think that the One Spark festival was conceived as a subtly elaborate plan to sell foam display boards. I believe that the festival is lining the pockets of the Osgood Family and their allies at the expense of other display media. I beleive that it does not stop with just this. If you follow the money, you may not want to see where it leads. I guarantee this conspiracy extends far beyond the Foam Display Board Industrial Complex.