Our staff did such a good job making a seamless transition that we hope our customers didn’t even notice, but in October Xootr moved their kick scooter and folding bike operations to a new factory just a few miles south of Scranton in Old Forge, Pennsylvania.
Our old building had been getting cramped and we have almost doubled the space at our new facility. We’ll write more about our new home in an upcoming blog post. Old Forge is a fascinating small community that lays claim to having the best Italian food, the largest number of pizza places, and the highest per capita pizza consumption in America. It’s also home to a restaurant where supposedly the "disappearance" of Jimmy Hoffa was planned. After we decided to move to our new building we discovered something surprising. Our longtime customer service representative Steve Kovalchik, who is the person Xootr customers talk to when they call us on the phone and is also responsible for making sure our orders almost always ship on the same day, worked in the exact same building 42 years ago. In 1972, Steve took his first job out of high school at Roberts Manufacturing, at that time also based at 1 Maxson Drive. They made sporting and athletic equipment, including weight benches, barbells, basketball hoops, and backboards. Steve’s first assignment was hanging 75-pound steel basketball backboards on a rack so they could be corrosion treated, painted, and baked. He suspects his boss, Victor Capucci, used that physically demanding task as a way of weeding out new employees that might not be willing to work hard. Steve apparently exhibited the same strong work ethic way back then, because he did that job without complaint for a year before he got promoted to a job in the woodshop making weightlifting benches. Unfortunately, after Steve had been there two years, J. Peters Manufacturing went out of business. There have been a number of other tenants, including a clothing manufacturer (running along the ceiling of our space is a power rail that powered over 300 sewing machines at one time). Steve worked at other companies in the Scranton area before joining Xootr in 2003. We hope to hold onto him until he decides to retire.