O.W. Lee Company, a U.S. manufacturer of outdoor furniture and fire pits relocated its manufacturing facility from Ontario, California to Comfort, Texas in March, 2021.
O.W Lee Company is named after its founder Oddist Winfred Lee, who was born in Brownwood, Texas in 1910. In the thirties, Oddist and family headed west to California and settled in San Bernardino, California. In 1947, O.W. Lee founded O.W. Lee Company in Pasadena, CA. making gates and railing for the luxurious homes in the Southern California area, and eventually started making wrought iron dinettes. Oddist did all of the design and fabrication, while his wife, Gerda, made all of the cushions. Eventually, under the leadership of Bob & Beverly Lee, Gerda and Oddist’s son and daughter in law, OW Lee started producing outdoor furniture, selling to specialty patio shops all around the United States.
O.W. Lee is now a fourth-generation family owned and operated business. In 2019, the leadership at O.W. Lee wanting a better future for the business as well as its employees and their families, and started its quest to find a larger manufacturing facility in a business and family friendly state. After searching in different states as well as different areas in the State of Texas, OW Lee landed in Comfort Texas, which is probably as different from Southern California as it gets. The rolling hills and beautiful oaks, as well as the family values of Hill Country was attractive to the owners. There was also a 412,000 square foot manufacturing facility right off of I-10 for sale.
The family purchased the building which is located on 27 acres, and O.W. Lee invested over $5,000,000 in equipment upgrades to the facility. O.W. Lee currently employs approximately 170 employees and plan to increase that to 300 in the next year.
In moving to the San Antonio area, Terri Lee Rogers, granddaughter of O.W. Lee, was introduced to the San Antonio Manufacturers Association. “I was taught by my Grandparents and Parents that networking within different trade industries was the best way to learn leadership and establish relationships that will help the business grow,” states Terri Lee Rogers. “SAMA has welcomed our business with open arms. Not only offering information on suppliers within the area, but also providing recruiting assistance and training information and assistance that is so valuable when you are essentially starting from scratch. The membership dues are well worth the value that is received through SAMA.”
While there have been some challenges in relocating, the future looks promising in our new Texas home. Our volume in shipments are slowly increasing every month, and we are making headway in our ongoing recruiting efforts.
O.W. Lee would sincerely like to thank SAMA in all of the advice, support and assistance they have given us to help us make this transition successful.