Lifetime Products, the world’s leading manufacturer of blow-molded plastic products, opened its new manufacturing facility today in Eastbridge Business Park. The 720,000 square-foot facility is the largest industrial building in Knox County and represents an estimated total direct and indirect economic impact of $184 million.
Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) CEO Bill Johnson, and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett cut the ribbon alongside executives from Lifetime Products and major retailers who stock the brand. In addition to its economic impact, the new facility is expected to directly and indirectly create an estimated 1,260 new jobs for the region.
“We are grateful to Lifetime Products for choosing to invest in Tennessee and for directly creating 500 jobs in Knox County,” said Gov. Bill Haslam. “With all of the rivers, lakes, and other places to enjoy the outdoors in our state, a company like Lifetime will fit right in here in Tennessee and help us reach our goal of being the number one location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
Lifetime Products offerings range from plastic folding tables and chairs, basketball hoops and outdoor sheds, to kayaks and paddleboards. This new facility will produce Lifetime Products line of water sport products, as well as its outdoor Play System line. The east Knox County location will allow the company to meet its increasing customer demand through shortened supply chains and faster shipping times.
“This new East Coast factory is a landmark accomplishment for us as a company,” said Richard Hendrickson, president and CEO of Lifetime Products. “This expansion is essential to our company’s continued efficient growth, and will strengthen our ability to create opportunities for people all around the world and specifically here in Tennessee.
Being close to the end user of our products, both east and west in the United States, is one of the core principals which allows us to continue to lead the industry as we manufacture high-quality innovative products. We are proud to begin manufacturing here and are excited for people all around the world to be able to enjoy our products that are made right here in the USA.”
The Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley region is attractive to manufacturing companies like Lifetime Products due to the region’s strong workforce pipeline, proximity to more than 60 percent of the U.S. population, and access to advanced materials research.
“Innovation Valley is known nationwide as a manufacturing powerhouse, and that’s why advanced technology and manufacturing is one of its target recruitment clusters,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “Our region has unparalleled assets such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory as well as robust workforce development initiatives like the Knoxville Chamber’s Talent Pipeline Management, which focuses on closing the skills gap and ensuring employers have access to a skilled workforce. These assets provide manufactures, like Lifetime, with confidence in knowing our region can support their existing demand and future growth.”
Lifetime Products’ current portfolio can be found in major retailers throughout the nation including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Academy Sports and Outdoors.
“Our customers have told us that second to price, where products are made influences their purchase decisions,” said Cindi Marsiglio, vice president of U.S. manufacturing for Walmart. “We are focused on buying great quality products that create jobs in communities across the U.S. It makes sense for our customers, our communities, and our company.”
Speakers for today’s ceremony were Gov. Bill Haslam, TVA CEO Bill Johnson, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Lifetime President and CEO Richard Hendrickson, Lifetime Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Vince Rhoton, Walmart Senior Director of US Manufacturing and Sourcing Scott Gutche, and Stacey Enterprises President and CEO Scott Dixon.