Small firm accuses Dick’s Sporting Items of changing American-made product with one made in China

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A small company calls local-based Dick’s Sporting Goods, accusing the national sports chain of substituting a Chinese-made product for an American-made product. Watch the full report in the video player above. BallBack said it spent a decade selling a basketball ball retrieval device to Dick’s Sporting Goods. At Kelly Plastics’ facility in Belle Plaine, Iowa, 15 employees produced up to 60,000 BallBack Pro ball returns per year Dick’s Sporting Goods stores nationwide. When COVID-19 struck, the small business said sales skyrocketed. “It was one of the things that got us through the first six, seven months of COVID because they were busier than ever,” said Mike McInnis, President of Kelly Plastics. But last summer, BallBack manager Mitch Smaller said Dick’s Sporting Goods told him they had found a new supplier of a similar product at a cheaper price. He later learned the supplier was actually a subsidiary of Dick’s Sporting Goods Primed, which is bringing back the ball, which is made in China. “Primed is their Dick’s line. They produced overseas and were technically the competitors,” Smaller said, adding that he was stunned to hear Dick’s Sporting Goods ended its 10-year partnership, but still, do they feel the need to rat us out? ‘ Smaller said. Action News Investigates asked Dick’s Sporting Goods to respond to BallBack’s claims. A spokesman for Dick’s Sporting Goods responded but only said they would not comment on the claims. Now the manufacturing facility is one of the largest employers in Belle Plaine and it is expected they may have to lay off three to six employees. But the plant owner said the impact could be much larger, affecting other jobs in shipping and supplying raw materials. ‘ McInnis said. “We typically order 20,000 pounds of resin now. We will only order 6,000 because we are unsure of future demand.” BallBack executives said the company was struggling to stay afloat and find another place to sell its ball returns. “You know, I’m doing everything I can to try to get back to where we were. But this is a huge impact on our business. Just great,” Smaller said. “This is a product made in the USA. It gives jobs to the people of the United States that go beyond this factory,” Smaller said. “They are taking these jobs away from the people of the US and giving them to the people of China. How un-American can that be?” Smaller said a Ballback-affiliated company had a patent on its BallBack Pro ball return, but in an email to Smaller, an attorney for Dick’s Sporting Goods said Primed’s ball return did not infringe the patent .

A small company calls local-based Dick’s Sporting Goods, accusing the national sports chain of substituting a Chinese-made product for an American-made product.

Watch the full report in the video player above.

BallBack said it spent a decade selling a basketball ball retrieval device to Dick’s Sporting Goods.

At Kelly Plastics’ facility in Belle Plaine, Iowa, 15 employees produced up to 60,000 BallBack Pro returns per year.

About 70 percent of these were sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores across the country.
When COVID-19 struck, the small business said sales skyrocketed.

“It was one of the things that got us through the first six, seven months of COVID because they’ve been busier than ever,” said Mike McInnis, President of Kelly Plastics.

But last summer, BallBack manager Mitch Smaller said Dick’s Sporting Goods told him they had found a new supplier of a similar product at a cheaper price.

He later learned that the supplier was actually a subsidiary of Dick’s Sporting Goods called Primed, which receives the Chinese-made ball returns.

“Primed is their Dick’s line. They produced abroad and were technically the competitors,” Smaller said, adding that he was stunned to hear Dick’s Sporting Goods ended their 10-year partnership.

“Here you have a $12 billion company that’s reporting 28 percent growth for the fiscal year, but still feels the need to rat us out?” Kleiner said.

Action News Investigates called on Dick’s Sporting Goods to respond to BallBack’s claims.

A spokesman for Dick’s Sporting Goods responded but only said they would not comment on the claims.

Now the manufacturing plant, one of the largest employers in Belle Plaine, predicts they may have to lay off three to six employees. But the plant owner said the impact could be much larger, affecting other jobs in shipping and the delivery of raw materials.

“I don’t think people really understand the implications of shutting down products for the supply chain and the entire industry in our country,” McInnis said. “We typically order 20,000 pounds of resin now. We will only order 6,000 because we are unsure of future demand.”

BallBack executives said the company was struggling to stay afloat and find another place to sell its ball return.

“You know, I’m doing everything I can to try and get back to where we were. But this is a huge impact on our business. Just great,” Smaller said.

“This is a product made in the USA. It gives jobs to the people of America that go beyond this factory,” Smaller said. “They are taking these jobs away from the people of the US and giving them to the people of China. How un-American can that be?”

Smaller said a Ballback-affiliated company holds a patent on his BallBack Pro ball return, but in an email to Smaller, an attorney for Dick’s Sporting Goods said Primed’s ball return does not infringe that patent.