ORLANDO, Fla. — Polyblox, a learning toy company based in Florida, will switch its manufacturing source from China to the U.S.
- Inventor of Polybox will now have toys manufactured in the US
- Laresa Tapia cited trade war, tariffs, COVID-19 outbreak
- RELATED: Central Florida Woman Creates Spanish-Language Learning Toy
"Being in the U.S. allows us to react faster and be more resilient to unforeseen events like the coronavirus or toy tariffs," Tapia said.
Around 85 percent of toys are manufactured in China and many of those factories remain closed because of the respiratory disease.
Tapia teamed up with Central Florida nonprofits to train adults with special needs to work at the manufacturing facilities to produce her learning toys.
She believes the majority of her costs will be on research.
"Now, I’ve got to source packaging here, the machinery. Now I’ve got to train a labor force. Now I got to learn those government programs and incentives that are available to me to employ adults with special needs," Tapia said.
University of Central Florida Institute for Economic Forecasting Director Dr. Sean Snaith said businesses already began to leave China prior to COVID-19 and the trade war.
"Wages were rising in China so there were less expensive places in South East Asia were manufacturing could take place," Snaith said.
While manufacturing businesses are moving, many won't come to the U.S.
“Low value manufacturing products just doesn’t make any economic sense to manufacture them in the U.S., and it likely will never again,” Dr. Snaith said.
Tapia said she plans on opening several manufacturing facilities across the U.S. each with an estimate of 50 employees next year and manufacture her toys only in the U.S. by 2021. But she said in order to finish Q4/Q1 orders, they will use production in China.