Made in Michigan: American Plastic Toys - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Made in Michigan: American Plastic Toys

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By Jessica Starr
Fox 2 News Reporter

WALLED LAKE, Mich. (WJBK) -- From the outside, you'd never know it, but American Plastic Toys in Walled Lake is a place where children's dreams are born from a brand new play kitchen to shopping carts and trucks and wagons.

They've been in business for half a century.  50 years is a long time, so how do they manage to stay competitive and survive through this tough economy?

"Over the years with so much of the toy manufacturing going to China, we were able to stay here by saying let's take as much of the labor cost out and provide bigger value products that require some assembly ultimately by the customer," said John Gessert.

All the fun stuff is geared towards kids from 18 months to six years old, and you can trust it won't break the bank.

"We stay committed to making all the products here, but it's a value proposition.  We try to make products that will give you a lot of product for the buck, and so you get a nice big box for $20 or $25 or $50," Gessert explained.

After repeated recalls of toys from China, many parents are looking for play gear made right here in the USA.

"Overall, if you look at our entire product line, it's probably about three percent of the total content of all the product is imported," Gessert said.

All the plastic used to make the toys is purchased in the USA, and the colors molded in all the products is FDA approved.

"It's a basic, simple material.  In all of our color, we use a liquid colorant.  We don't use any paints or coatings.  That's molded right into the product.  You could actually ingest the liquid color and not have any issues," said Gessert.

BPA free, lead free -- these toys are safe, and when it comes to kids' favorites, check out what's cooking.

"Our kitchen sets have been our number one dollar producing toy for us.  We offer two kitchens, one that retails for about $45 and another one that retails for $20 to $25," Gessert told us.

So where do you find these toys with a tie to Michigan?

"Our products are available at Walmart, Kmart, national mass merchants, certainly Meijer's right here in Michigan, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, Family Dollar, Dollar General -- basic every mass merchant in North America carries our product," said Gessert.

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