DANBURY, Conn. — Luke’s Toy Factory, a local manufacturer that creates environmentally friendly toys right in Danbury, is gaining national attention for its unique trucks.
On Friday morning, the toy factory was the focus of FOX Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria" in a segment called “Made in America: Making Toys Great Again.”
The program is Fox Business Network's morning business show and features anchor Maria Bartiromo.
Newtown resident Jim Barber, who owns the toy factory with his wife Lois, said FOX heard about the toy factory after media coverage of a recent visit by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal to choose the winner in a toy giveaway.
“One of the producers from FOX News lives in Fairfield County and saw in the news that Blumenthal paid a visit to the store," Barber said. "He went onto our website and emailed Evan Achiron, a co-founder of Luke's Toy Factory, who is in charge of business strategy. He invited Evan onto the show.”
On the four-minute segment, Achiron explained how Luke’s Toy Factory manufactures its toys in Southington and assembles and ships them from the factory, located on 128 E. Liberty St.
In an economy where over 80 percent of toys are made in China, consumers are longing for American-made toys, Achiron said.
“They want quality and American made is synonymous with quality and trust,” he said.
Luke’s Toy Factory creates four different kinds of trucks for children ages 3 and up: a fire truck, dump truck, cargo truck and tipper truck. Children can mix and match the parts of each to create their own vehicles.
They are made with 70 percent plastic and 30 percent sawdust, which comes from U.S. furniture manufacturers.
“Instead of incinerating the sawdust, we are giving a second life to them in our toys,” Achiron said.
According to Barber, after the FOX segment aired, the factory received a ton of traffic on its website. “We got 20 times our normal orders that day.
“We received 80 orders, all within about three hours. On a normal day we get four or five,” he said. “I got phone calls all day long.
"A couple of stores sold out that day,” Barber said.”They called me to reorder.”
Barber said toy manufacturers don’t often have direct contact with consumers, because most of its toys are sold through local stores. “So, when you get the chance to talk with so many people about what you’re doing -- it’s a nice thing," he said.
While on the phone with customers, “Most people told me they are sick and tired of buying things made in China and really want to support someone who is bringing jobs back to the United States," Barber said.
“In these tough political times where so many people are taking sides, it’s nice for people to be able to focus on something that makes kids happy," he said. "This is just a toy and not some big political thing. You can’t turn it into something to be angry about.”
Luke’s Toy Factory is holding a special holiday sale through Dec. 25, with each toy selling for $19.95 -- a $3 discount.
Luke’s Toys are available in 200 stores around the United States and in a half-dozen stores in Connecticut.
To view the FOX news segment, click here.