Christopher Borrelli of the Chicago Tribune went deep inside the company to find out what made it tick. Here's his report touring the American Girl distribution center in Wisconsin:
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And after you buy American Girl through an American Girl catalog or website, your package likely will be shipped from one of its two distribution centers in Wisconsin. The largest is in DeForest, 40 minutes north of Middleton. I find it in the back of another drab office park, dark and enormous against the rainy afternoon. The place is vast, 400,000 square feet. Inside, holiday decorations are at a minimum, though the majority of employees — 780 of the total 870 — are seasonal. A young-looking guy in army-green cargo pants, Dave Brophy, director of the center, greets me. He's been with the company for 25 years. "We're at the point in the season where people are panicking. Everyone wants wrapping," he says.
The workers in this building shipped 60,000 packages the day before. And yet, as in Middleton, it's not a chaotic place. The gift-wrapping area holds 41 booths. Elves here are hunched over boxes in shifts from 6 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.