It's been one week since WSBT 22's Brie Isom laced up her shoes and hit the court to give us a lesson in a sport with growing popularity. We're talking about pickleball!
Now we've learned that something else besides pickleball players and fans call our area home.
We actually heard from some of our viewers about a local company that's big in the pickleball world. It turns out a very important part of the game is made right here in Michiana.
From cutting out the mold of the pickleball paddles, to printing the logo on the final product, the folks at Paddletek in Niles are transforming the game.
“Our technology that we introduced in 2012 changed the sport of pickleball. 98-percent of premium pickleball paddles today are using our original technology,” said Curtis Smith.
Smith is the CEO of Paddletek. He started the company in Arizona, but moved it to Michigan shortly after.
“We knew that when we hired our first employee that it would be in Michiana,” said Smith.
Paddltek is one of the largest manufacturers of pickleball paddles. The number one male and female pickleball players in the world both use Paddletek paddles. It is also the paddle of the national pickleball championship.
“Our paddles are designed to take any player no matter their skill level and help them get to the next level,” said Smith.
Paddletek has about 30 employees developing their products to help players improve their game.
“They’re really dedicated and love what they’re doing. And that’s what I appreciate about the job too. I try to remind everybody that what they’re doing is actually getting people off the couch getting them moving and finding that competitive spirit. And the life they didn’t think they had before,” said Bryan Rodgers, production and product development.
Though the company started out West, Smith takes pride in running his top pickleball paddle business in Niles.
“One thing I know about people in the Midwest is that they’re good at making things,” said Smith. “It was a good fit for us to bring in people that take pride in producing quality goods,” said Smith.
Paddletek does not sell their products out of their manufacturing warehouse. But the CEO says they sometimes sell discounted paddles that don't match the rest of the batch they're making.