Oldest American Bike Factory Cycles On

New York company tries to keep manufacturing in the U.S. by opening a factory in South Carolina

 

Taking up a whole city block in Ozone Park, Queens, is the oldest bike manufacturer in the country, Worksman Cycles. It has been in New York since 1898.

The company prides itself on being the last of the large bike manufacturers with bikes still made in the United States. That’s an accomplishment in an era when U.S. manufacturing has declined. In 2014, 99 percent of the bicycles sold in the country were imported from China and Taiwan.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s many bike factories, such as Schwinn and Huffy, had to outsource overseas, due to rising rents and growing costs of production.

“All the legacy companies either went out of business,” said Wayne Sosin, president of Worksman Cycles. “Or they went to China or Taiwan, and closed down their U.S. factories.”

Despite the difficulties, Worksman Cycles said, no. The company, Sosin said, knew that its customers would appreciate it if they pedaled on and stayed in the country.

So that’s what they did. But they need to tweak the formula a bit.  After 118 years of making their bikes only in New York, in order to remain a ‘U.S. made only’ bike manufacturer, the company will be opening a new factory this year in South Carolina. They settled on the site, after scouring seven different states to find the right space.

The New York factory will remain open, but a large chunk of its operations will move to the South Carolina facility, where the company will have more space to expand. The new factory will open in the next month or so.

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