SEYMOUR — Seventy-five percent of what Thule sells in North America is made in America, with the majority of it made at its manufacturing facility in Seymour, a company spokesman said.
Thule Inc., a leading manufacturer of transportation accessories for nearly everything outdoors from skis to bicycles, recently completed an office renovation at its 108,000-square-foot facility at 42 Silvermine Road.
As part of that project, it relocated its distribution to Beacon Falls inside the Murtha Industrial Park off Railroad Avenue Extension, just eight minutes from its Seymour factory, said Karl Wiedemann, communications manager for Thule. The company is leasing 59,000 square feet of space there.
Now when a product is finished in Seymour, a truck takes it to Beacon Falls, Wiedemann said. From there, it goes anywhere in the world, he said.
Thule chose to open a distribution center in Beacon Falls because it’s close to Seymour and because of the proximity to Route 8 and Interstate 84, Wiedemann said.
In Seymour, there are about 50 office staff, and at peak production in spring and summer, there are 250 staff, he said. In Beacon Falls, there are 14 full-time staff and 14 seasonal workers.
The company plans to hire a second shift supervisor, fork lift operator and transaction clerk for Beacon Falls, Wiedemann said.
The distribution center has been up and running for about a month, he said. It has a distribution center in Denver as well.
Thule completed its office renovation in January.
Wiedemann said the space hadn’t been updated since 1992, the year the company moved its U.S. headquarters to Seymour. Work entailed removing all drop ceilings, making it much more airy and bright, he said.
Thule is an active company and encourages its workers to go for bike rides at lunch or to do yoga on site, he said.
As it moved its distribution to Beacon Falls, the company was able to bring in more raw materials to increase its production here, Wiedemann said.
Wiedemann declined to comment on the cost of the renovation or the move to Beacon Falls.
According to its website, the Thule brand was established in Sweden in 1942, and founded by the Thulin family.
Thule Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Thule Group of Malmo, Sweden, and Thule Sweden is owned by Nordic Capital, a private equity firm.
Inside its Seymour facility, it makes a host of products from roof-mounted bike carriers such as the “Thule Big Mouth,” to hitch-mounted bike racks such as the “Thule T2.” It also makes rear-mounted bike carriers here, and lift-assist carriers for kayaks.