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Acton toy manufacturer plans $8 million Marlborough expansion

WORCESTER BUSINESS JOURNAL – An Acton startup that manufactures professional sports player figurines wants to move to Marlborough, according to documents submitted to the City Council by Mayor Arthur Vigeant on Thursday.

Oyo Sportstoys, founded in 2011 by former medical device executive Tom Skripps, is planning to spend $8 million to renovate space it will lease at 111 Locke Drive. The company is seeking a tax increment financing (TIF) deal from the City Council, which would provide tax breaks on value added to the property over the life of the 10-year TIF agreement.

Oyo promises 195 jobs

The plan is to create a “state-of-the-art” manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters, according to Vigeant. Oyo would move 95 full-time jobs to the city by mid-2016, and create an additional 100 jobs over the next 10 years, he said.

A private company, Oyo has raised $14 million in funding to date. The company has outgrown its 30,000-square-foot space in Acton and will initially lease 65,000 square feet on Locke Drive, with the potential to lease more as it grows, according to documents filed with the city.

Oyo Chief Financial Officer Chris Gainsboro said in a letter that the company is experience huge demand from customers for its Lego-like figurines, which can be made to order. That’s thanks to licensing agreements it has with professional sports franchises and leagues, he said.

The company has agreements with Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NCAA, and the NHL along with their players associations to produce toys featuring their start players.

“Oyo has quickly capitalized on these assets and has secured wonderful distribution into big-box retailers while simultaneously creating an online (presence) that can customize and expedite sales through the company’s online portal,” Gainsboro wrote.

In his letter, Vigeant urged the City Council to “expeditiously” approve Oyo’s application. The matter is on the City Council agenda for Oct. 5.

This article by Emily Micucci originally appeared here.