It's a sign that the economy is slowly improving, but at least it's a start: Wham-O is bringing back half of its Frisbee manufacturing to the United States from China.
Kids in China may someday turn over their Frisbee and find "Made in America" on it. What a twist that would be!
The toy manufacturer is bringing half of its Frisbee production to the United States -- specifically Lompoc in Southern California -- adding eight jobs to the economy. California has 12.3% unemployment, so every bit counts.
"It's good to bring them back," Wham-O Chief Operating Officer Mike Rosales told WalletPop in a telephone interview. "We just have better control (locally). It helps the economy and it helps to have a smaller carbon footprint."
The four to six workers per shift at the business that will make Frisbees, Manufacturing Marvel America, will continue at their jobs and be joined by extra workers by the end of January, Rosales said. Three shifts are busy during peak Frisbee season.
For a company that sells millions of Frisbees every year, it's a move that will save Wham-O money in the long run as production is streamlined with other products that Manufacturing Marvel makes for Wham-O. Labor costs are higher in the United States, but there isn't much labor involved beyond packaging because machines do a lot of the work.
While he wasn't sure what wage the Frisbee workers would earn, Rosales said they were paid better than minimum wage because they're trained technicians running the machines.
Since everyone probably has a Frisbee in their house, or had one at one time, it's an iconic toy that calls out for being made in the USA.
"The greatest thing about the Frisbee is that it's nostalgic," Rosales said. "People want to have the same toys for their kids that they had as children."
What's possibly next for Wham-0, a 60-year-old company that has been making Frisbees for 50 years? Moving manufacturing of its Hula Hoops from China to the United States.
Let the hip-twirling begin!
Catch this one! Frisbee production returns to U.S.