Founded in Hill, New Hampshire just a few years after the American Civil War, Red Devil Inc. has proven its adaptability to an ever changing global economy for more than a century. Manufacturing a line of over 400 tools and chemical products, the family-owned firm has made it a point of pride in maintaining profitability by understanding its production shipping costs. With these concerns in mind, Red Devil located it’s chemical production to Pryor, Oklahoma in 1973 in order to take advantage of its central location in relation to Chicago, where two of its largest customers were based. It also opened its office headquarters in Tulsa in May 2005 after deciding to shutter it’s New Jersey facility due to cost considerations. For Red Devil VP George Lee III, one positive in relocating his firm from New Jersey was the quality of the local workforce.
“It’s obviously industry dependent, but I feel that there is a great set of core values in the Oklahoman worker who gives a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay,” said Lee. “Sometimes this gets overlooked by government agencies who concentrate more on tax incentives, rebates and other programs to lure potential inward investment.”
Red Devil’s Pryor operation boasts a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the state’s largest industrial park. Amongst the more than 70 tenants at MidAmerican Industrial Park are seven Fortune 500 companies. The 9,000 acre park is located in the geographic center of the U.S., and has access to nearby highway, railway, waterway and air transportation distribution points for those serving global markets “Logistics these days are quite sophisticated,” explained Lee. “So fears of being ‘landlocked’ are overblown in my opinion. If a company is time critical with either suppliers or customers, they will have to factor that into their locational decisions. When serving our customers, both domestic and international, we can use the Port of Catoosa for bulk transport or the interstate highway system for all points on land. If there are time critical shipments, there are also the air facilities available in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.”
Though Red Devil originally started out as a hardware and tools manufacturer, Lee estimates that 75 percent of its current sales are from its chemical products. Given that most of these products are water based, another draw for its investment in Oklahoma was the industrial park’s water and power infrastructure. Mid America boasts some of the lowest water costs in the country, one coal and two natural gas fired power plants and dual-fed electricity at wholesale rates to the park’s tenants.
Now entering its fortieth year in Oklahoma, Red Devil continues to provide its more than 400 products to international clients the world over. In doing so, it relies on the established relationships built up over decades of doing business, combined with its two person sales team in Pryor.
“We utilize foreign representatives,” said Lee, “And wherever feasible and economically viable, we try to find partners who will invest in inventory and distribute locally to their marketing areas.”
Given the challenges facing businesses since the 2008 financial crisis, Red Devil’s move to Oklahoma appears to have paid off. Largely unaffected by the economic strains affecting job creating businesses in other parts of the country, the state has maintained at worst, modest growth rates in each of the past four quarters. With its workforce, logistical infrastructure and positive economic climate, investment in Oklahoma looks to be a safe bet for firms of all kinds.
If you would like to learn more about international investment opportunities in Oklahoma, please visit the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team at www.OKGIT.com. The Governor’s International Team (GIT) is a group of citizens representing private industry, government, education and non-profits from across the state of Oklahoma who are dedicated to help shape a stronger Oklahoma in the global economy.