In September of 1990, John Jerit founded a “start-from-scratch” company with only one main product. Soon sales for American Paper Optics’ (APO) “3D Fireworks Glasses” grew, as did the demand for other variations of paper promotional 3D glasses. APO’s manufacturing and marketing evolved from a demand for quick turnaround promotional specialty optics. Today, with a staff of 44 employees, APO manufactures more than 14 different types of specialty paper 3D glasses in an unlimited number of frame shapes.
Since the company originated, APO has become the world’s largest manufacturer of paper 3D eyewear. During this time, owner and 3D aficionado, John Jerit, transformed a “silly” paper novelty business into a 3D eyeglass empire with products distributed worldwide. Named “Small Business Executive of the Year” in 1998 by the Memphis Business Journal, John attributes aggressive marketing and diversification to the company’s successful production of more than two billion 3D glasses. In November 1999, Entrepreneur Magazine selected John as one of the nation’s outstanding small businessmen for his masterful marketing of 3D glasses for movies, television, web-sites, theme park attractions, laser light shows, and fireworks displays. In September 2010, Inc. 5000 Magazine ranked American Paper Optics number 1,316 on its list of the top 5,000 fastest growing private companies. APO was again added to the Inc 5000 “Fastest Growing Companies” list in September of 2018 (#1,876).