There is no quick answer to this question. The passion I have for Nylint supersedes any trite response that I could give to the question of why I want to restart the company. To me, Nylint symbolizes so many things like; hard work, loyalty, quality, dedication, and family. The drive to restart Nylint has evolved and grown with me as I have grown into an adult and became a mom of two little boys. As a child, Nylint was almost synonymous with my grandfather in my mind. He died when I was 7, but his legacy lived on not just within our family but in the community at large.
To my young eyes, he was perfect. I saw his legacy in every Nylint toy. Nylint provided a tangible connection to him even though he was not physically with me anymore. Even as a child I knew that Nylint toys were different from the other toys around my house. They lasted forever as I played with the same fire trucks and vehicles my mom and uncle enjoyed in their own childhood forty or more years earlier.
A lot of people have asked me about the bankruptcy and sale of Nylint. I was 13 years old at the time, what I knew about the bankruptcy came from overheard adult conversations from various family members. Tensions that had long simmered in the family turned into permanent fractures, just as blame and rumors ran through the community. But to me, it felt like something was taken from my identity. It was as if Nylint was an invisible link between me and the generations of family before me, and that link was suddenly severed. And I wanted that link back, so I decided that restarting Nylint would restore that link - that missing part of my identity and connection to my grandfather.
During the bankruptcy, all the assets of Nylint were sold. This included everything from the name and patents to all the molds, dies, tooling, and machinery used to create the toys. A large Chinese conglomerate called Funrise bought the name and all of the manufacturing elements that were not sold at auction were shipped to China. By the time of its bankruptcy, Nylint had remained a family run company for over 60 years, a full decade longer than its competitors like Tonka, Ertl, and Structo.
As I grew older, I started noticing not just the empty Nylint factory, but the many empty factories throughout downtown Rockford. I saw how depressed the area was. The once vibrant American manufacturing hub went the way of many too many similarly vibrant cities across the American Rust belt and beyond. I learned about offshoring and saw that Rockford and Nylint had fallen victim to the desire to maximize profit rather than build community. Bringing back Nylint wouldn’t just provide that link to my family but a means to better Rockford. My desire to restart Nylint grew from a silly childhood dream, compounded by a desire to restore that vibrant community with the kind of manufacturing jobs and reputation that built many legacies, and perhaps build a new legacy for my family.