An offspring of The Little Tikes Company, The Step2 Company manufactures and sells variety of plastic toys for toddlers and preschoolers, as well as products for the home and garden. The company also produces educational toys under the Thinkativity brand, and its Infantino subsidiary makes baby products. Step2 operates a retail store in Ohio and also sells its offerings online and through mass merchandisers and specialty retailers (such as Lowe's, Target, Toys "R" Us, and Wal-Mart) in the US, Canada, and more than 70 other countries. Step2 was established in 1991 by Thomas Murdough, founder and former Little Tikes president. The company is owned by New York-based private equity firm Liberty Partners.
Step2 operates two plants in northern Ohio (Streetsboro, Perryville). Overseas the company has a manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia, a distribution center in the UK, and a licensing agreement with The Gunica Co. in South Korea.
Sales and Marketing
Step2 distributes its products through multiple retail channels including toy retailers, mass merchants, home centers, and the Internet.
To meet growing worldwide demand for its juvenile products, the company added a manufacturing site in Saudi Arabia. The move followed the shutdown of the company's factory in Georgia in 2010. The company, which has been focusing on lean manufacturing processes, shifted the leftover production to its two plants in Ohio. The closure affected about 100 employees, roughly 10% of Step2's total workforce.
Shortly after the factory shutdown in early 2010, the company named Jack Vresics as CEO. Vresics replaced Scott Levin, who left after three years with Step2. Vresics has logged time as an executive for a variety of consumer products companies, ultimately becoming general manager of Infantino (which was acquired by Step2 in 2007) and then a member of Step2's board. Under Vresics, Step2 is investing in newer rotomolding technology to make production processes more efficient and to design more versatile toys that can be used by children as they grow older.
Step2 is owned by New York-based Liberty Partners, which acquired the company in 2006.
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