The Step 2 toys manufacturing company began its operations with 5 employees in 1991 in the American town of Streetsboro, Ohio by former Little Tikes founder Thomas G. Murdough, Jr. Currently operating two large Northern Ohio plants in Streetsboro and Perysville, it employs over 800 full time American workers making it the largest toy manufacturer in the United States.
Mr. Thomas G. Murdough, Jr who pioneered the use in rotational molding in costumer products, was the original founder and president of Little Tikes company from 1969 to 1989. After the acquisition of Little Tikes in 1984 by Rubbermaid, Mr. Murdough, Jr. fulfilled his 5 year employee contract with Little Tikes before taking off to start Step 2 Company, LLC. He retired in 2007 and the Step 2’s current CEO and President is Mr. Jack Vresics.
While most of Step 2 toys can be labeled Made in America according to the Federal Trade Commission, Step 2 employs a 3 tiered approach to informing its customers of the origin of their toys. According to their website, the 3 Tier system on their packaging and website includes:
Made in U.S.A. This label includes toys that are made and assembled in the United States. While the FTC outlines that “virtually all” of the products and components are made in the U.S., imported components cannot be integral to the play of the toy, such as hubcaps, cap nuts and doorbells. This does mean that those components can be made outside of the U.S., but complies with FTC outlines. At the time of this article, 52 toys are featured on Step 2’s website with this label.
Made in U.S.A. of U.S. and Imported Parts These toys would normally be identified as Made in the U.S.A. according to TC outlines, but Step 2 toys try to clarify that while most components are domestic made and assembled, some components like pretend cookware and accessories are imported. At the time of this article, 91 toys are featured on Step 2’s website with this label.
Made in “Country of Origin” This label identifies toys produced and manufactured outside of the U.S.
According to the Step 2 Company, LLC, growing demand and customer base worldwide has led them to a licensing agreement with Korean company Gunica to manufacture toys and supply customers throughout Asia. It is important to note that while these toys are being manufactured in Asia, they are also being consumed in Asia, with the cost of labor and materials staying in Asia, and profits being delivered right here to the United States. Meanwhile, toys consumed here in the United States and Canada would sport labels from Step 2’s first 2 labels on their 3 tier system.
Like Little Tikes, Step 2 include a vast selection of indoor and outdoor large and colorful plastic toys. These include creativity sets, infant and baby learning toys, kids furniture, outdoor garden play and indoor home and kitchen play, outdoor playhouses, swings, ride on toys and wagons and sand boxes.
One of my son’s favorite is the Delux Action Train Table, currently being sold for $79.68 with free shipping. This price is a good example that Step 2 toys are being priced competitively making them attractive to American consumers of toys Made in the USA!