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Kuat Racks evaluates expansion of Springfield operation

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Springfield bike rack company Kuat Racks is weighing an expansion to its Queen City facility after a smaller one was conducted this spring.

Luke Kuschmeader, co-founder and president of Kuat Innovations LLC, the parent company of Kuat Racks, spoke to the plans during an interview with Springfield Business Journal Editorial Vice President Eric Olson for the monthly 12 People You Need to Know series. The live interview was held yesterday at The Backlot, Alamo Drafthouse Springfield's restaurant and bar.

Kuat Racks added 4,500 square feet of office infill expansion this spring, Kuschmeader said. More growth is anticipated at the facility, which is located near the entrance to Partnership Industrial Center West.

"We're in the process of evaluating if it's the right fit to do a 30,000-square-foot expansion of our warehouse," he said, noting a timeline hasn't been set.

Kuat Racks in early 2019 moved into the $3.5 million, 40,000-square-foot warehouse and corporate office on about 14 acres at 2240 N. Alliance Ave., according to past reporting.

"We didn't really anticipate outgrowing that space for a long time," Kuschmeader said, noting company growth is necessitating additional square footage.

Design, marketing, warehousing and wholesale logistics are handled at the Springfield facility, while production is conducted largely in China. Last year, Kuat Racks added a 9,000-square-foot warehouse in Los Angeles as a solution to supply chain issues caused by ongoing shipping delays.

During the interview yesterday, Kuschmeader said supply chain issues have eased slightly compared with last year, but the facility in Los Angeles likely will be kept to assist in distribution.

Declining to disclose revenue, Kuschmeader said the company last year recorded growth of more than 100%. Kuat Racks additionally added 30 team members within 18 months to respond to a surge in demand for the company's bike racks as consumers took to the outdoors amid the pandemic.

"We weren't able to completely meet the demand of last year," he said, but noted the company came close.

Coming down the pike, Kuschmeader said research and development currently is being conducted for products outside the cycling industry. He said the kayaking and fishing industries are among those that Kuat Racks could become involved in, but he stopped short of announcing a new product.

"Stay tuned for the next couple years," he said.

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