Outdoor Research Factory Grand Opening In El Monte, California

There’s not much I love more than visiting factories, but it’s a rare occasion to be invited to a grand opening of a brand new factory, particularly in the textile industry.

Considering the long history of garment sewing in Southern California, I fully expected to see a refurbished factory. Instead, I was greeted with a brand new building, filled with completely new machines. Just nine months ago, OR’s patent company, Youngone, started their quest to open a new factory here in the States. After surveying several locations across the country, they initially settled on a different location. Unfortunately, inspection of the local area revealed it was unsuitable and they quickly selected El Monte, California, as their newest location. In just three months, the 32,000-square-foot factory was outfitted and the work force hired and trained.

Once inside, visitors are immediately greeted by a show room, outfitted with the full breadth of OR’s tactical offerings.

Just beyond, the production floor is laid out in multiple lines with new equipment and room for expansion. Supervisors and the factory director are situated at the front of the floor.

When OR’s latest employees came onboard, they were already quite adept at the cut and sew business, but there was still a learning curve. They all had to learn how to manufacture handwear with the Gore-Tex membrane. In particular, a great deal of investment was placed in training those who apply seam tape to the gear. Below, you can see a positive pressure test device which detects holes in the Gore-Tex membrane or seam tape. Any pinholes are immediately patched and put back through Quality Control inspection.

There are about 1000 displaced textile workers in El Monte due to factory after factory moving overseas in recent years. In particular, the jeans industry is almost entirely offshore. Outdoor Research was able to leverage that work force and put 115 of these skilled workers back to work.

The city of El Monte is very proud of this new factory and I can see why. The building is new construction, built to the latest code, and the work is vital to our nation’s defense. These textiles worlers are family members who will bring home a living wage and generous benefits package.

The celebration of the opening spanned two days, due to pressing schedules. First, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32) toured the new facility, along with Michelle Wardian, President of Outdoor Research as well as El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero; Jason Duncan, VP of Tactical, Innovation, CSR – Outdoor Research; and TJ Laynor, Tactical Sales Director, Outdoor Research. They conducted a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at the end of the tour.

The next day’s grand opening ceremony was quite an event. El Monte is 65.2% Hispanic and 30% Asian. The work force closely mirrors its community and the gathering was addressed in English, Spanish and Cantonese. Presiding were representatives from the the El Monte city council and city departments as well as LA County. These dignitaries also wished the factory well.

The economic impact of this new factory will be felt all throughout El Monte and it’s neighboring communities in the San Gabriel Valley, as some workers commute from as far away as Pasadena.

What’s more, Outdoor Research boasts a new, state of the art factory which specializes in manufacturing protective clothing for the US military. Already, it’s hard at work producing equipment for our men and women in uniform.

8 Responses to “Outdoor Research Factory Grand Opening In El Monte, California”

  1. EODFish says:

    I love my OR stuff to the point that my wife gives me a hard time about looking sponsored. This is awesome to see and I hope they grow their tactical line even more.

  2. Rich275 says:

    Well done OR!

  3. Will says:

    I really like OR gear, and love the idea of more USA manufacturing. I am perplexed why they chose El Monte. El Monte, and California in general is a disgusting cesspool of anti-business corruption. I suspect that El Monte was chosen for it’s endless supply of labor that probably isn’t on the legal side of immigration law. I hope that’s not the case, but if it’s true, it just means OR is able to use foreign labor, or foreign wages, but still claim Made in USA.

    • cat_blaster says:

      Yeah totally CA is terrible for business since its one of the largest economies in the world and companies are always leaving an never coming and nobody wants to live there cause the quality of life is terrible.
      Geez CA sucks!

    • SSD says:

      Violating immigration laws to manufacture under contract will cost a company contracts. That’s how Eagle Industries ended up owning Michael Bianco. So no, that isn’t the case.

    • Loopy says:

      Stereotype much?

      • Andrew says:

        Initially interesting that OR would want to establish a large manufacturing presence in a state with high wages and onerous regulations for businesses, particularly manufacturing. But it makes sense since CA, particularly Socal, has a large garment industry with a dense pool of skilled garment manufacturing labor that won’t require ground up training to make highly technical garments and the only other major US area (New York) with the same benefits is even more expensive for a company to operate at. Yes, the hard working laborers making “Made in USA” garments here and, frankly, across the country, are primarily brown and yellow and foreign born. Yes, if you consider “Kommiefornia” as not part of free “ America” lol, you can call the one of the highest minimum wages in the country foreign. Would OR risk federal criminal violations in hiring illegals? Who knows? Greed is unpredictable but I highly doubt an established reputable gov/mil vendor company would risk that. Anyway, I was here to upgrade your comment from “stereotype” to either (your choice): 1. Simple minded and ignorant. 2. Racist.

  4. Juan Bravo says:

    Congrats TJ and the entire OR crew! Good to see you living the dream brother. JB