Cinzia Ferella, International Sales Manager for Sutcliffe Play, tells us about her very informative trip to Tennessee, Georgia and New York.
My trip began with a visit to the PlayCore headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee. There I was able to gain an insight into the company and its objective: to become one-stop shop for all it is needed within the recreational industry. It offers everything from grass mats to climbing walls to swimming pools to play equipment, and overall the company employs around 1,000 people.
PlayCore explained that although they are proud of their manufacturing capability they are always on the lookout for new innovative products, with a particular interest in inclusive play.
Superior International Industries (SII)
Next, I visited Superior International Industries in Carrolton, Georgia, one hour from Atlanta. SII employs about 300 people and manufactures recreational products, the best-selling of these being plastic slides and tensile fabric structures (shades). SII purchases swing seats from Sutcliffe Play, which are mainly sold to Canada and South America.
I introduced Sutcliffe Play’s family of products, and SII were impressed by the product ranges and the number of units we make.
I then enjoyed a tour around the factory where I saw the big rotor moulding machine they use to manufacture slides and kayaks. Many of these products were stacked and packed, ready to ship out.
U.A. Construction Corporation and Rubber Safety Tiles in NYC
On my first day in NYC I visited the Children’s Center where our safety tiles were installed more than ten years ago. There must have been about 1,000 safety tiles installed and they were still in very good condition
After this visit I looked around several playgrounds so that I could get the feeling of what type of equipment and style is used for play areas in this part of the world. These included the “One Mile Playground” built by U.A Construction with Landscape Structure play equipment. It is a large public area that extends for about a mile along the river Hudson.
We visited many playgrounds and 90% of them have safety tiles which is still the preferred method in NYC for safety surface due to its long-lasting durability.
Central Park Conservancy (CPC)
The CPC is a private, not-for profit organisation founded in 1980 and its mission is to restore, manage and enhance Central Park in partnership with the public for the enjoyment of all.
The park alone covers 6% of Manhattan, and it is estimated that 40 million people visit it annually.
By looking at the Central Park’s map you notice that there are 25 playgrounds only in this park, of which 15 of these are under renovation. The CPC have raised $100M, available to spend on renovation projects just for Central Park, this year.
The visit to NYC really gave me some good insights into the city’s playground requirements and the opportunities there. NYC is a city that never stops building or rebuilding the space available – and we look forward to developing opportunities in this exciting market.