Lisa Frank Factory – Tucson, Arizona - Atlas Obscura

Lisa Frank Factory

The fading, forgotten remains of a once bright and booming factory.  


If you were alive in the ’80s or ’90s, you’ve likely encountered a Lisa Frank product. The brand won the hearts of many children and tweens with its adorable, sparkly products. Schools supplies such as folders and pencils depicting rainbow dolphins and colorful unicorns became a symbol of coolness. 

Lisa Frank Incorporated was founded in 1979 and named after its 24-year-old founder. Stickers were the first product with a popular line of school supplies following in 1987. 

Its popularity rose, and in 1996 this 320,000-square-foot factory opened in Tucson, Arizona and paid tribute to the company’s line of cutesy, rainbow products. It even features a rainbow loading dock and pink glass entry. There are also more subtle details such as hearts and stars lining the fence. The cheerful features now fade in the desert sun, surrounded by dull brown tumbleweeds. 

The factory once offered tours, but now the interior remains a mystery, with only a handful of interior photos available from media coverage. Behind the pink glass, a giant statue of the brand’s iconic yellow lab puppy guards the lobby. Journey deeper, and you’ll encounter a giant panda in overalls with a can of rainbow paint and a brush poised and ready to make the world brighter. 

Sales declined as the original fans grew up, and rumors of poorly treated employees showed that maybe it wasn’t all technicolor puppies and rainbows. By 2015, the factory that once employed 500 people had dwindled down to a handful of employees. Now, the unloved building stands largely forgotten, and has been on and off the market for years.

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