IN THE MID-1980s, Utah native Barry Mower was dissatisfied with the basketball hoop options available for his young family so he built a new hoop in the garage of his Riverdale home. What started as a personal project quickly grew into a full-blown manufacturing business. Mower’s start-up is now a global company with more than 3,500 employees, selling a variety of outdoor products through major retailers like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart and Home Depot to customers all over the world.
Lifetime Products is a market leader in categories like folding tables, chairs, sheds, kayaks, and other home products. Over the last decade, the company experienced approximately five percent growth annually. While the pandemic decimated whole sectors of the global economy, Lifetime Products actually thrived, growing by over 20 percent in 2020. Because the company was already proactively anticipating future growth, they were able to accommodate these record sales by accelerating plans for a state-of-the-art, 670,000-square-foot shipping facility.
Lifetime Products is now one of dozens of thriving manufacturing companies in Northern Utah, but that was not always the case. For example, basketball backboards used to be sourced from a company in Chicago. This required a lot of back-and-forth shipping of large products. Lifetime worked to bring the manufacturing of their backboards to Northern Utah. This streamlined the process and saved valuable time and money.
“When Lifetime Products was founded 35 years ago there weren’t a lot of other manufacturing companies in the area. Many of our base materials had to be shipped from the Midwest,” said Rhoton. “Rather than moving closer to our suppliers, we strategically decided to become a vertically integrated manufacturer. Bringing more of the process in house ultimately lowered freight costs and gave us more control over quality.”
Lifetime’s commitment to Northern Utah has made it an enduring presence that has helped to further establish the manufacturing industry in the state.