Made In the USA?
Being on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, I’m often asked the question, “Are your tools made in the USA?” It’s a completely fair question, however difficult to answer, knowing the response people want to hear. So I thought I would put together a post about our tools, where they are made and our manufacturing process.
A Bit of Corona’s History
We originated in the orange groves of California in the 1920s and we have been designing and marketing agriculture, landscape and garden tools ever since. We’ve also been located in the City of Corona from the day we first began nearly a century ago. Our first tool, the “9B” or orange shear was developed by a local teacher who wanted to help solve the problem of citrus spoiling during its journey across the country. Poor quality fruit meant growers didn’t receive top dollar for their crops. The tool was designed and hand-crafted from forged steel, which helped the California citrus industry flourish and which also became known as, California’s 2nd gold rush.
During World War II, part of the Corona operation was taken over by the US government to forge fasteners and buckles for parachutes for service men fighting overseas. The US needed facilities like Corona’s to support the war efforts and our forging plant made it an ideal choice.
More recently, when I first began working at Corona, I had stopped for gas before going into the office, when the attendant noticed my Corona shirt and asked if I worked for them. I told him I did and he went on to tell me that he had worked for us years ago at our plant located on 6th Street, where we heated steel and forged a growing line of tools. He also reflected back, mentioning that Corona helped build the City of Corona and that whenever someone needed job, “all they needed to do was go to Corona Clipper”.
I thought it was important to provide a framework of our history and legacy during the last century before addressing the question at hand. As a company Corona’s roots have played a vital part in making the California citrus industry successful, supported the efforts of US military during WWII, and apparently helped to build a California city. Throughout this time, we’ve never lost sight of our purpose; helping others succeed by providing them the tools they need to perform season after season.
Are Corona Tools Made in the USA
So back to the question, are our tools made in the US? The short answer is we no longer manufacture all our tools in our US facilities. Our facilities in California and Kentucky provide a variety of operations as it relates to product manufacturing, including product assembly, packaging, quality assurance, engineering and distribution. California is also home to all of the other traditional functional areas of a normal business, such as customer service, sales, marketing, accounting, purchasing, etc.
After moving from our 6th Street location early in 2000s, we shut down our forging processes due to increasing economic pressures and built our new manufacturing facility in Mexico. Customers still wanted good quality tools from Corona, however we saw the trend beginning to shift away from those willing to spend more on a tool made in the US in favor of lower-priced tools . We felt the shift in our business and like 90% of US manufacturing, had to look at alternative solutions to maintain our distribution partners and still be competitive in the marketplace. Mexico offered tremendous opportunities to control our product manufacturing processes and brand, while other parts of the world filled in our line for competitive market needs and completeness.
During the changing economy in the early 2000s, Corona merged with our parent company, Bellota, which has been a family-owned business located in Spain, with over a century of experience in the tool business. It was an ideal partnership for us as they share the same core values as Corona. With our partnership, we are able to increase our purchasing power, buying many of the same parts for our tools, as well as utilize the seven manufacturing facilities located across the globe from our parent company. As family-oriented businesses, we source tools from suppliers throughout the world, never losing site of our commitment to quality. We have earned a reputation among overseas suppliers “…they are too picky on quality” as we will not sacrifice the reputation of our brand which has taken a century to build. Any tool that bears the Corona brand must first exceed our expectation of quality and offer the lasting performance that we expect, season after season.
Is Outsourced Manufacturing a Good Solution for Corona?
The simple answer is no. It provides a balance of making quality tools, at competitive prices, within the global economy that we live in today. Corona has been supporting the USA in one way or another since we began in the 1920s. This is just another chapter in our history that has changed over time as we continue to support Americans by providing jobs for those in our plants and providing quality tools that exceeds our users’ expectations from our brand.
Entry filed under: tools.