Radio Flyer Wagons a Classic Chicago Icon - New York News

Radio Flyer Wagons a Classic Chicago Icon

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The little red wagon is an American icon, and the first Radio Flyer wagon was built on the West side of Chicago in 1917. In today's digital playground, Radio Flyer is more popular than ever.

Just about everybody can remember at one time or another pushing, pulling or riding in a little red wagon, an iconic American tradition. Just last month, Time Magazine named the Radio Flyer wagon one of the 100 all time greatest toys.

"When people think about Radio Flyer, we want them to think about smiles and warm memories, because that's what we're all about," said Robert Pasin, president and CEO of Radio Flyer.

Pasin sits in the same office on the city's far West Side where his father and his father's father before him used to sit.

On the wall in the building hangs a classic picture from the 1933 World's Fair, which is really where the brand was born.
"When my grandfather learned that the World's Fair was coming to Chicago, he saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime brand-building opportunity. He had the idea to construct this big 45 foot tall boy on a wagon. A lot of people thought he was crazy, but it turned out to be one of the hits of the fair," Pasin said.

The so called Coaster-Boy exhibit even had a workshop underneath where they sold miniature wagons. It captured the fascination of fair-goers from around the world.

Soon Radio Flyer, a company Antonio Pasin started just 10 years before and was already selling 1,500 wagons a day, became a household name. And its popularity and notoriety have seemingly never faded.

They don't manufacture Radio Flyer products at the Grand Avenue headquarters anymore; they mostly focus on product development and marketing these days.

And radio flyer isn't just about those steel wagons anymore. They've got scooters, ride-ons and plastic wagons with cup holders and fold down seats. But just like the old days they still think big even outside their front door.

Outside sits a true big boy wagon. Radio Flyer says it's the biggest in the world at 27 feet long and 13 feet wide, with the wheels themselves 8 feet in diameter. It weighs roughly 15,000 pounds.

Radio Flyer is still going strong. Fueled by a proud history and a mission to make fun toys for kids and toys even the employees, as we discovered, can't seem to resist.

We asked Supply Chain Coordinator Kim Kramer if she feels like a kid working at Radio Flyer.

"Absolutely,” Kramer said. “As you can tell with my style, as I was riding my scooter throughout the warehouse, absolutely. You come to work everyday and you're just excited you're around toys and around people who love their job because you are doing things good for the community."

Radio Flyer is the kind of place where you walk in and within about 45 seconds, you can tell it's a fabulous place to work.

Last year Radio Flyer was named as one of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the country, and they even sell scooters are big as is the Pathfinder wagon, complete with seat belts, cup holders and fold-down seats.

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