CADILLAC — A global manufacturer is counting on Michigan for help in making some of its most popular fitness equipment.
When the pandemic hit and gyms closed, many people scrambled to get their hands on fitness equipment to work out at home. Items like kettle bells, from global fitness manufacturer Rogue Fitness, were a popular item. The demand was so huge, the Ohio-based company needed a strong partner to up its production.
Enter Cadillac Casting, a newcomer to the fitness scene and already well-known for being a big supplier of auto parts.
"Cadillac Casting has a very good reputation in the industry for supplying ductile iron castings, " explained Dennis Thornburg, sales manager for Cadillac Casting.
"Rogue was looking for a partner here in the United States to work with could develop the part quickly with them and launch the part quickly. So we fit that mold."
As a number of companies, unfortunately, saw business slow down during the pandemic, it had the opposite affect on Rogue Fitness and Cadillac Casting. The partnership started in April and, within a month, Cadillac Casting was pumping out some serious iron.
"Right now, we've started out making kettle bells. So, there's about 12 different variants that we're making between nine pounds and 88 pounds," Thornburg explained.
"We're probably going to make, from a kettle bell standpoint, probably 159 or 160,000 loads per year just initially, at a minimum."
Traditionally, fitness manufactures looked outside the U.S to manufacture their parts as it was much cheaper to do. But, Thorburg said the pandemic is helping to prove it's more reliable to stay local.
"When manufacturers start looking at the real costs, especially when you look at potential supply chain interruptions caused by COVID-19, it makes sense from a financial standpoint. Companies are starting to realize, hey, it's not such a good idea to shop offshore, let's start moving this stuff back."
It's also helping to prove that Michigan can flex it's muscles and attract potential business partners.
"I think it's a great story for, not only Cadillac Casting, but the potential for other companies located in Michigan and the U.S. to put themselves in a good position to pick up this type of work."
Cadillac Casting plans to expand production to make Olympic weights next.