Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has convinced toy producer Enor Corp. to expand U.S. production at the expense of sourcing from China.
Enor plans to set up a large toy production factory in Fairfield County, S.C., to help satiate Wal-Mart's thirst for U.S.-made products. Enor, based in Northvale, N.J., has supplied the retail giant with toys for more than 15 years and so has been sensitive to Wal-Mart's desire to sell more U.S.-made goods.
Enor's plans were simultaneously announced on Aug. 14 in South Carolina and in Denver, where Wal-Mart was hosting its second annual U.S. Manufacturing Summit for its global suppliers.
“We will start limited production in September and reach full production [in Fairfield County] within 9 months to a year,” said Enor CEO Steven Udwin in an Aug. 20 phone interview. The company will locate in a 78,000-square-foot facility that was a former golf-cart distribution center in Winnsboro, S.C.
“Today's announcement represents our life-changing commitment to manufacture exclusively in the U.S.,” Udwin announced at the Wal-Mart summit.
Udwin told Plastics News that production will gradually be pulled from China in favor of South Carolina. Some labor-intensive work will be the last jobs relocated to the United States. Enor also will shift toy production from its New Jersey headquarters to Winnsboro. The Northvale plant will keep about a third of its business, which is focused on making multimedia packaging, Enor's other major market.
The Winnsboro plant will employ about 150 and will represent a multimillion dollar investment when it is running at full speed, Udwin said. Enor also hopes to get into custom injection molding in Winnsboro, supplying components to other Wal-Mart suppliers that want to boost U.S. content. Enor has a head start for such business because it is a certified supplier to Wal-Mart, Udwin explained.
Enor injection and blow molds a wide variety of toys and play items. A short list of its plastics lineup includes games and play equipment such as rackets, balls, baseball bats and bowling pins. It is the largest U.S. producer of hollow plastic balls used in play pits. The blow molded balls are now made in Northvale but the work will be moved to Winnsboro.
Winnsboro will contain a mix of new injection molding and blow molding equipment as well as relocated machinery from Northvale. Udwin said Enor's injection molding capabilities will be expanded by installation of a new 1,100 ton press. The large tonnage is needed for big toys like winter sleds. Toy production is a seasonal business with output matching play demands in indoor and outdoor settings.