Kitsbow, maker of premium cycling clothing and accessories, is the proud recipient of the North Carolina Governor’s NCWorks Award of Distinction for 2021 in the category of ‘Outstanding Employer.’ The award was presented at the Virtual 2021 NCWorks Partnership Conference on October 20.
Western North Carolina-based Kitsbow was nominated for the award by Region C Workforce Development Board in recognition of Kitsbow’s demonstrated contributions to the economy and for its innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic as the company shifted to the production of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“A highly skilled workforce is the key to getting North Carolina job ready,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “With its commitment to employing North Carolinians, teaching them to sew and participating in our On-the-Job Training program, Kitsbow is an outstanding example for other employers.”
David Lee, Director of the Foothills Workforce Development Board, also noted, “Kitsbow was one of the first manufacturing companies in the nation to pivot in March of 2020 to make both face shields and fabric face masks from the material they already had on hand. It may be hard to remember now, but this was during a time that medical professionals and first responders lacked any kind of masks or shields, and Kitsbow employees stepped up to help out.”
Since relocating its headquarters from California to Old Fort in October 2019, Kitsbow has added more than 50 new jobs and is currently hiring for 10 more open positions. As part of its employee benefits package, Kitsbow offers its team members 100% employer-paid health insurance, paid holidays, subsidized food, secure indoor bike racks, a shower and changing area, as well as service on employees’ bikes subsidized by the company.
“It’s an absolute honor to be recognized by Governor Roy Cooper with this NCWorks Award of Distinction and especially to be honored as an outstanding employer,” said David Billstrom, CEO of Kitsbow. “Our team has been integral to our success. I am profoundly
grateful for and proud of a team of 60 people who came into a facility every day during a state-wide lockdown to make PPE to help keep our community and country safe.”
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Kitsbow was established in Sonoma County, California, eight years ago by dedicated mountain bikers and apparel industry veterans. Because its designers have logged years in the saddle, each detail is obsessively considered. Every element — down to zippers and reflective piping — is vetted for quality, style, and durability.
Relocating its manufacturing to Old Fort, North Carolina in 2019, Kitsbow is committed to a Just in Time manufacturing model, minimizing waste and maximizing flexibility to serve the customer. All products are packaged in compostable packaging, as well as all shipping materials, ready to return to the Earth in your own garden. Kitsbow already makes over 75% of its products in the USA and is on track to be making all of its products in-house in 2021. Kitsbow is a Bicycle Friendly Business, designated at the highest level (Platinum) by The League of American Bicyclists.