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Meet Luke from Luke's Toy Factory
Jim Barber, who's somewhere in his 60s, and his son Luke make toys. They make toys because Jim noticed when Luke was little that most of his toys were made overseas, and then he heard about some mess a few years ago involving toxic paint on kids' toys, so he rented space in a forgotten warehouse in an industrial corner of a forgotten city. Luke started designing and 3D-printing prototypes of trucks made of parts that fit together—loosely, so little kids can put them together easily. Jim took care of sourcing the safe, eco-friendly raw material (30 percent sawdust from furniture factories) and put up some of his retirement savings for equipment—the 3D printer, a drill press to make holes for the trucks' axles, boxes for packaging. They're now in more than 200 stores from Connecticut to Wasilla, Alaska. "The cost of making things overseas is actually going up," Jim says. "So we're looking not at where things are now, but where are things going? We just want people to know: Yeah, you can make things here."