CNN Money had an interesting article about American Plastic Toys based out of Walled Lake Michigan, not far from where we live.
What makes American Plastic Toys so unique is that while over 90% of all toys sold in the United States are manufactured in China, American Plastic Toys has been able to remain competitive while keeping their manufacturing at their Michigan and Mississippi based facilities.
At one point, the company considered sending their plastic molds overseas but feared intellectual property loss, an issue companies like Lego is fighting now. So they stayed U.S. based. They employ 300 workers at the facilities that run a 24 hour weekday schedules making more than 300 different toys.
Only 10% of their products include imported parts and all their plastics are purchased domestically. This is important to any parent whose child suffers severe allergies and is nervous about where the plastics used in their children’s toys are sourced.
Keeping the entire vertical process Stateside has the added benefit of being able to bring new toys or adjustments to existing products to market much faster than their competition.
They have an extensive series of playsets (workbenches, kitchens, grills,…), outdoor swingsets, garden toys, riding toys and more. The price points range from a $2 entry level and cap a little of $100.
As a former small business owner, I love to see other locally owned businesses succeed and grow. The small business sector is where the majority of non-minimum wage job growth will come from and I believe we should do our part to help them grow.