ACTON (CBS) – In a nondescript brick building on Main Street in Acton, there’s a factory making people.
The walls are covered with towering tubs of torsos.
There’s nothing sinister here. They’re little plastic people called OYOs.
“We are producing lots of little dudes” says OYO marketing director Mike Ewing.
The “dudes” are like LEGOs, only with star athlete names and movable arms.
They’re the brain children of OYO founder Tom Skripps. He used to design medical devices. Then at a Red Sox game with his son, he got an idea.
“Fourth inning of the game, he’s done. He loves LEGOs. He wants to buy a toy and there are no toys to buy and I say ‘I have to make LEGO mini figures for sports.”
So in Skripps’ hometown of Acton, you’ll find 70 people sticking little hands, legs and heads on specially printed torsos.
OYO is allowed to use the names of all players because it has a licensing agreement with major league baseball, the NFL and NHL. They hope to get a deal with the NBA soon as well.
Each little OYO mini-figure is customized to look like the real player and gets a little water bottle and a football, baseball or hockey stick.
Bruins star Patrice Bergeron is a right handed shot. So, his mini-me has a right-handed stick and a playoff beard.
At a time when so many companies are shipping manufacturing work overseas, OYO is proud to say almost all of its work is done in Acton. Also, being local and so close to the action allows the company to quickly respond when a star player switches teams and needs a whole new look.
The company made one million mini-figures last year and predicts it will make seven million next year.
Not bad for what used to be a “little side business” for a local man. He’s now making big business off tiny little men.
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