PARSIPPANY ─ Walmart’s prestigious, annual “Supplier of the Year” award once again has been presented to Kent International. The bicycle company, with 85 employees at its Bicycle Corporation of America (BCA) plant in Manning South Carolina, and 70 more at its Parsippany headquarters, received the same award in 2015.
Kent, currently producing 6,000 bikes per week in South Carolina, has expansion plans that will shift its focus from assembly to direct manufacturing. This significant broadening of operations is projected to result in the creation of about 100 additional jobs in Manning SC, for a total of 175-200 jobs.
“Our company is a stellar example of what U.S. based production can achieve,” explains Scott Kamler, President of Kent International, which has supplied bicycles to Walmart since 1997. “Bikes made overseas simply cannot match our level of engineering refinement, which enables Walmart customers to assemble them in only about five minutes. Providing this degree of convenience is part of what’s enabling us to plan for future growth. We’re extremely proud of our successes, products, and of once again being recognized by Walmart.”
Kent’s South Carolina facility makes five different bicycle models, all under its BCA brand, which it ships to 2,500 Walmart stores nationwide.
“Walmart’s January 2013 U.S. Manufacturing Commitment to buy an additional $250 billion is U.S. products over 10 years is helping create additional jobs not just in New Jersey and South Carolina, but throughout the United States, and that’s good for American businesses and our local communities,” said Walmart spokesman, Scott Markley. “With changes in energy costs and labor costs overseas, it is increasingly cost effective and efficient to manufacture closest to the point of consumption, helping Walmart respond to trends and customer demand. Our customers tell us that where products are made is most important second only to price.”
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