Lifetime Products Inc. is starting a $41 million project to expand its blow molding capacity at its headquarters in Clearfield, Utah, as Lifetime bought Emotion Kayaks Inc. of Wyomissing, Pa.
The company will expand what is currently warehouse space and will use 40,000 square feet of space in phase one of the project, according to Bob Adams, vice president of plant engineering. A Lifetime spokeswoman said that at least three, or possibly four, blow molding machines will be added in the first phase as Lifetime adds capacity for both existing and new customers.
“With the recent tax incentive from the Governor's Office of Economic Development we received to expand our manufacturing capabilities in Utah, we will be expanding our blow molding facilities,” said Lifetime President Richard Hendrickson. “These new facilities will be used to manufacture more kayaks to meet demand for this growing product line.”
Lifetime announced Nov. 16 that it bought the assets of Emotion Kayaks. That includes intellectual property, trademarks, manufacturing equipment, inventory and retail contacts.
Terms were not disclosed.
Hendrickson said that Emotion had outsourced the blow molding and rotational molding of its kayaks. Lifetime plans to continue using Emotion's existing rotomolding suppliers, he said.
Thomas Strauss, who founded Emotion Kayaks in 2002, will join Lifetime and play a key role in the transition, Hendrickson said.
Lifetime has agreed to add 142 workers in the next 10 years, as part of an agreement with the Utah GOED, Davis County and the city of Clearfield. The GOED board has authorized a post-performance refundable tax credit of more than $3.19 million for the new and retained jobs as well as the expansion of the manufacturing facility. The payment covers a 20-year life span and it is expected that Lifetime will pay in excess of $12 million in state taxes over that period.
By purchasing Emotion, Lifetime continues its expansion into kayaks, part of the outdoor recreational market that has remained healthy despite U.S. economic woes. In 2010, Lifetime bought the assets of California-based Dragonfly Innovation Corp. to get into the kayak business. Lifetime moved the Dragonfly production to Clearfield.
“That was a small acquisition, but very significant for us, because it got us into the kayak market,” Hendrickson said.
As kayaks have become more popular, Hendrickson said that high-volume blow molding has helped make kayaks more affordable. Lifetime's goal is to hit the lower and midrange price points, and make it easier for people to buy and use kayaks, he said.
Lifetime's plastics operation currently occupies 120,000 square feet of space and includes more than 20 blow molding machines.
“It is exciting to see that after serious competition from other national and international locations, Lifetime has decided to expand in its home state of Utah,” Gov. Gary Herbert said.
Lifetime is a leading manufacturer of residential basketball equipment and polyethylene folding tables and chairs. It also makes outdoor storage sheds, playground equipment, composters, wheelbarrows, soccer goals, tetherball systems, kayaks and paddleboards.
Lifetime is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Its products are sold in 58 countries.