Business and Industry

Oregon Bike-Maker Thrives on "Made-in-USA" Demand from Overseas

Domestic manufacture is seeing a revival


Until this year, few people beyond his 96 employees saw inside Chris King's bicycle factory in Portland, Ore.

The cagey manufacturer makes everything in an old coffee roasting plant on the edge of town, and he zealously guards the secrets that have helped his company thrive despite competition from China and Taiwan, where 99 percent of the 15.7 million bikes sold in the U.S. last year were made, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association.

Now, as businesses in disparate industries, including Apple and General Electric, rediscover the appeal of Made in USA, King is letting visitors see at least some of the 80,000-square-foot place: the frame-welding floor, the room where employees press tiny metals balls into metal rings for hub bearings, and the paint booth. The main floor, where workers mill aluminum parts, some precise to 2/10,000ths of an inch, is still off limits.