BluTrack is a small toy manufacturing company in Pella, Iowa that debuted the Blue twisting, customizable racetrack in 2007 during a time when toy manufacturers were recalling Chinese made toy imports because of high levels of lead and cadmium.
President Randy Belding came up with the idea when he bought his son a big name race track which they could not get to operate. After taking the track to the garage and engineering the toy to work, the two finally succeeded after about one and a half hours. Unfortunately, Belding’s son decided to give up playing with the track after sending his car through just a few loops.
Though Belding was initially disappointed at spending 90 minutes getting the track to work, it was that disappointment that sparked his innovative idea: they had more fun getting the track to work than actually playing with it! So why not build a track that is easy to use yet requires ingenuity and imagination as well as cooperation and teamwork with the family!
The BluTrack itself is simply made of durable blue plastic available in 18 foot starter packs or 24 foot performance packs, ranging about $37 to $66 for each pack. The significant price difference for the extra six feet is in the 8 ramps included in the Performance pack, while they both share the inclusion of suction cups, hanger pad and stiffener bar with Velcro. All packs come in simple, industrial looking boxes aimed them earth friendly and inexpensive.
The company suggests letting your children play with the track without first introducing the ramps, and at first without adult interference. They suggest that kids will naturally be freer and more creative without these elements, and will be ready for adult interaction and ramp play within a couple of weeks.
The company’s goal of having BluTrack Made in the USA was important from the very beginning. They wanted to feel good, to provide a USA made product, and most importantly to give local suppliers and manufacturers their business and keep America moving forward.
On Amazon.com, the primary complaint you’ll see is that the cost is too high for what you get. Secondary complaints include that the track gets too stiff in cold weather, and that gravity doesn’t handle all the loops pictured.
With regards to price, this is the primary reason major American toy companies rush to the cheap costs of Chinese manufacturing. We are addicted to cheap labor and the way it brings price down to the end consumer. But you have to look at a couple of things, BluTrack is a small company that doesn’t benefit from the cost reduction of volume manufacturing. And more importantly, they made a conscious decision to manufacture the toy in the United States. What might be in the neighborhood of $25 for a Chinese made toy with ramps, you get it for about $66. It is a choice that we as consumers need to make.
But in the end, it is your child that will benefit from the long hours of imaginative play and constructive cerebral contemplation, without the added lead and cadmium metals. The only problem is finding small cars still made in the USA!