Walmart and 50 Strong on Wednesday celebrated a partnership that is bringing new jobs to Ohio.
50 Strong, whose water bottles and bicycle accessories can be purchased in Walmart, recently was awarded the production of 5 million water bottles that had been made by a Chinese competitor. Production of the bottles for Walmart kicks off in August at Lima, Ohio-based Precision Thermoplastic Components, or PTC, which is owned by the 50 Strong family.
The new production is expected to result in the creation of 20 new local jobs, bolstering a workforce of 100.
Wednesday's celebration was attended by several state officials, as well as Jason Leisenring, a Walmart regional general manager. Walmart has pledged a 10-year commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in products made in the United States.
50 Strong CEO Ashley Thompson shared the story behind the water bottle win, telling the assembled crowd how Walmart had contacted her with a desire to replace imported bottles with those made in the United States. The challenge was the quick turnaround required by the retailer on costing – by midnight that day.
The costs came in slightly high, Thompson said, and then gave kudos to the design engineer who redesigned a bottle cap in two hours to lower the cost. Moreover, he designed another entire bottle in 24 hours.
"This team steps up every single week," Thompson said. Of the partnership with Walmart, she said, "Revitalizing U.S. manufacturing and actively supporting Made in America products is a mission we share with Walmart."
At the event Walmart's Leisenring also presented the Apollo Career Center with a $5,000 grant on behalf of the Walmart Foundation to support the center's efforts to develop a skilled workforce. Apollo Career Center has already been a recipient of five scholarships from the 50 Strong Foundation to support skilled workforce development. The 50 Strong Foundation has committed to donate $25,000 to the career center over five years.
50 Strong currently has 16 items in three departments at Walmart.