CLEARFIELD -- A local company that started out making portable basketball standards in a garage 25 years ago has become the largest manufacturer of blow-molded polyethylene products used in everything from folding picnic tables to kayaks and trailers.
Lifetime Products has been operating out of the Freeport Center for 25 years, mostly selling large quantities to mass retail channels, but their new business lineup includes some retail stores along the Wasatch Front, including in Ogden and Clearfield.
The company used to have a small store next to their manufacturing plant at the Freeport Center, used mainly by employees; but as the products increased in popularity, officials decided to open the retail stores as a way of making their products more available.
Customers are often surprised at how many different products the company offers, according to Richard Hendrickson, president of Lifetime Products.
"Customers will know us for one or two categories, and not realize all of the different products we make," Hendrickson said.
The company's most popular products are folding tables and chairs. The secret behind their success, the blow-molded polyethylene, isn't necessarily a secret concept, but the fact that they can make such large pieces to put into tables, sheds and portable basketball standards makes the company unique in the industry.
"We didn't invent the process by any means, but we have refined it and become experts ... to blow-mold flat panels, and have innovated and patented a lot of that technology," Hendrickson said.
The company is constantly on the lookout for new products they can make using their technology. The latest product, the kayak, is gaining in momentum as they have discovered a lot of demand in the water sports arena.
Other products have been created in a roundabout way, like the outdoor storage sheds. The company started making office divider panels, but Vince Rhoton, the company's executive vice president of sales and marketing, said it was horribly unsuccessful. There were a lot of very expensive panels sitting around collecting dust until one of the creative design engineers looked at the panels and started making a rudimentary shed.
A failed product became a success as they revamped the idea into an outdoor storage shed using the unused panels from the partition wall project.
"Everyone to this day, when that subject comes up, still talks about the cubicle dividers' massive failure, but I remind them that it led us in another direction," Rhoton said.
The company currently exports products to more than 55 countries, Hendrickson said.