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Step2, Little Tikes founder Murdough launching new Streetsboro company

Simplay3 to bring new technology, distribution plan to industry

by Bob Gaetjens | Gateway News Editor Published: August 22, 2016 12:40 PM

Step2 Co. and Little Tikes founder Tom Murdough said he is currently ramping up a new company, Simplay3, in Streetsboro.

Murdough said the new company has moved into the Hammer Wine Co. building located at the end of Rosemont Drive off Mondial Parkway.

"There are leased offices on one side of it that are taking up about 15,000 square feet," he said. "Our side is about 70,000 square feet."

Murdough said he and Spencer Pisczak of Premium Builders bought the Hammer Wine Co. building about four months ago. According to Portage County property records, Premier Streetsboro purchased the property in May for just over $3 million.

Murdough said he's not seeking any tax abatements.

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Mayor Glenn Broska said he's quite optimistic about Simplay3 coming to town.

"Considering his past successes --°he started Step2 and he started Little Tikes and both of them have gone on to flourish --°I would think this would, as well, and that pleases me," he said.

Portage County Development Board Executive Director Brad Ehrhart said he shares Broska's excitement.

"(Murdough's) track record so far has been stellar, wouldn't you say?" he said. "A serial entrepreneurial person like that is a real blessing to the area."

Murdough said Simplay3 will produce rotationally molded toys, home and garden products as Step2 and Little Tikes have done, but he also plans to add new product lines.

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He said he plans to introduce new production technology to the rotationally molded plastic industry, and plans to take a new approach to distribution.

"I'm pretty excited about how we're going to sell our products and produce them," he said. "We won't be selling to the big boxes."

Murdough, who's been an active member of the Hudson community for many years, said he wasn't content to remain in "semi-retirement."

"I just was not happy in a retired situation," he said. "I had a number of things we could do better in the field where we have so much expertise."

Simplay3 moved in to the Rosemont Drive facility with about a dozen employees, but over the next six months Murdough said he hopes to add 20 to 30 employees at the facility.

And growth will continue from there, he added.

"With Little Tikes, we started in a 6,000-square-foot barn and ended up with about a million square feet across the country," he said. "We're not starting this size with the intention of staying this size."

Murdough said he plans to host a grand opening ceremony and begin shipping sometime this fall.

"We've been at this for close to two years," he said, adding finding the ideal home for the new company has been a significant challenge.

Murdough said he was hunting for an industrial facility within 15 miles of Hudson, which is a tall order due to a tight market for industrial space.

"When this building opened up, it was the one we had the most interest in from the beginning," he said, adding proximity to the highway system and a familiar workforce were factors in favor of Streetsboro.

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9440

Twitter: @thegatewaynews


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