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Gutterglove brings China manufacturing back to USA

Gutterglove Inc., a Rocklin, Calif., maker of gutter guards, will bring its manufacturing from China back to California by the end of the second quarter of 2012, the company announced.

CEO and president Robert Lenney, who founded and invented the multi-patented Gutterglove Gutterguard, started manufacturing his gutter cover in 2003.

"Originally, my plans were to make the gutter guards in California,” Lenney said. “But because the parts used were from high-end, high-quality materials, they were very expensive to make."

The company's gutter protection systems, Gutterglove and the DIY version Leafblaster, are made from aluminum extrusions and a fine stainless steel micro-mesh. They are installed on roof gutters and designed to keep out leaves, pine needles and roof sand grit.

Due to continued rising costs to manufacture and the pressure to reduce costs in order to remain competitive, Lenney sent out a worldwide bid request in 2006 for aluminum extrusion companies to quote on making his gutter covers. He ended up moving manufacturing to China.

In 2011, the Army Corps of Engineers began to spec the Gutterglove design to be installed on gutters on specific buildings on certain military bases in the United States. However, to qualify for the “Buy American” act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Hoover in 1933, Gutterglove needed to be made in the USA.

In the second quarter of 2011, Lenney sent out bid requests to numerous part manufacturers throughout the United States for extruding, anodizing and fabricating his aluminu- based product.

Unexpectedly, several extrusion companies in the Los Angeles area came back with quotes that were only slightly higher than the Chinese manufacturers, the company said. Evaluating this marginal increase closely, it was determined that it would be more feasible to manufacture and assemble in California rather than China.

"I'll carefully manage future cost increases in manufacturing so that I can always keep business here, permanently," Lenney added.

Gutterglove sales are increasing more than 40% a year, according to the company, which is currently seeking up to $2.5 million dollars in debt and equity capital to assist with these transitions of growth. 

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