After spending $20 million on a renovation, Boston-based athletic giant New Balance has opened its 80,000-square-foot athletic footwear factory in nearby Methuen.
“Manufacturing has always been an important part of our company culture,” New Balance president and CEO Joe Preston said in a statement. “Our associates have proven that high-quality athletic footwear can be produced in the U.S. Their skilled craftsmanship and dedication to continuous improvement will help us meet our significant U.S. and global consumer demand and drive our continued business growth.”
The company’s new factory, which began production in January — specifically on its iconic Made 990v5 shoe — is the home to upward of 90 employees, and will soon increase the workforce and production by more than double. (Including Methuen, New Balance said it employs roughly 1,000 workers in its five manufacturing facilities in Maine and Massachusetts.)
The opening of its new factory, New Balance said, is proof of its commitment to American manufacturing and its longstanding pride in American craftsmanship. The company stated its U.S.-produced Made footwear contains a domestic value of 70% or more, and makes up a limited portion of its sales stateside.
“We believe our commitment to domestic manufacturing drives innovation, capitalizes on consumer trends and provides new market opportunities,” New Balance COO Dave Wheeler said in a statement. “The opening of NB Methuen significantly expands our owned manufacturing capacity and furthers our efforts to have a best-in-class value chain.”
New Balance said the Methuen factory is a testament to its significant investments in innovation and machinery, which is paired with a lean manufacturing processes “to enable a responsive Made U.S. supply network.” Also, the company said it is proactively working to innovate and expand its domestic supplier network for its Made U.S. footwear, and “drive new automation and robotics opportunities to enhance associate safety and ergonomics and increase productivity.”
Aside from the opening of its new factory, the company announced it has delivered a $100,000 gift via the New Balance Foundation to the Methuen Branch YMCA that will fund a renovation of its outdoor playground and basketball court.
“New Balance Foundation is strongly committed to the local communities where New Balance Athletics, Inc.’s associates live and work,” New Balance Foundation director of global philanthropy Molly Santry said in a statement. “New Balance Foundation is also a proud supporter of the Merrimack Valley YMCA program so we’re thrilled to be able to support the Methuen Branch YMCA and their youth recreation program through this gift.”