Lee’s ‘Made in the USA’ bill a game changer for local companySep 24, 2021 11:39AM ● By Becky Ginos
Senator Mike Lee takes a tour with Richard Hendrickson, President and CEO of Lifetime Products at its Clearfield facility. Courtesy photo
CLEARFIELD—When Lifetime Products, Inc. opened its doors in 1986, it took only a portion of one building in the Freeport Center. Today it is spread over many buildings throughout the center and a new, 670,000 square foot facility is under construction on the corner of 775 W. and 193.
“We’ve been forced to ship products from many different buildings,” said President and CEO Richard Hendrickson. “We ship a lot of different product lines, retail direct, .com, business. Retailers pick up one truck and have to stop at three different buildings to pick up a load.”
The new building will streamline the process, he said. “They’ll have one stop, get loaded and have easy access from 193 to I-15. It will be a great improvement in shipping for us. It allows us to keep growing our company.”
The company broke ground on the new facility in July 2020 and expects to start using it in January 2021. “The Clearfield City Council worked hard with us to make an attractive, water friendly building that is good for the environment,” said Hendrickson.
Hendrickson said one of Lifetime’s first products was the adjustable basketball system. “That revolutionized the basketball driveway game in retail. Eventually we came out with the fillable base so you didn’t have to cement it in. We became adept with plastics, blow molding and integrated steel for tubing.”
Lifetime makes kayaks, tables, chairs, sheds and play systems like swing sets, he said. “So many of our products are a combination of metal and plastic. We have a new gas and pellet combination grill. We continue to innovate and grow to develop products that bring family and friends together outdoors at home. That’s what I love about what we do.”
Because the company ships to countries all over the world, the “Made in the USA” bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee will have a significant impact on what Lifetime does. “It made it through the Senate and now it has to make it through the House,” Hendrickson said. “The victory in the Senate is wonderful. I’ve been working with Sen. Lee on this for years now.”
He said the problem is, currently there is no clear standard from state to state in marking packages with the Made in the USA label. “It’s consistent in most states but in California for example, all parts have to be made in the USA in order to get that label. We’re working with global supply chains so we can’t necessarily comply with 100 percent of everything being made in the USA. We can’t control what state that goes to, it could end up anywhere.”
Lifetime designs its products from the ground up, said Hendrickson. “We do the tooling and sourcing of the main raw materials in the USA. But the netting comes from China, they’re the only place that makes that and there are screws that are sourced from another country.”
Hendrickson said his employees are proud to make products in the USA. “Because of the inconsistency in standards we’re stuck for fear they will end up in a state with different laws and get fined for using the label incorrectly but there’s no clear definition.”
This bill will allow for using Made in the USA without getting in trouble, he said. “It’s really important to be able to mark it that way. We hope it will make it through the House so it becomes law and we can proudly mark our packages ‘Made in the USA.’”