Paddletek recognized by Gretchen Whitmer for growth and innovation

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
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NILES, Mich. (WNDU) - Founded because of one man’s love for pickleball and his idea that improved the paddle’s design, Paddletek is the largest pickleball paddle manufacturer in America.

So what is pickleball?

“Pickleball is short court tennis played with a paddle and a wiffleball. The simplest expalnation is, it’s as if you’re playing ping pong but you’re standing on a giant table,” said Paddletek Owner Curtis Smith.

Smith owns Paddletek, but the company was created by his brother Cody, who thought of the idea.

“Paddletek was founded in 2010 by my brother who was tired of replacing his pickleball paddle every three to six months,” Smith said.

This problem caused Cody Smith to create a polymer honeycomb paddle that lasted longer than other paddles at the time.

“And what he found was that it played amazingly and it actually changed the sport, and most of the premium paddles manufacturered today, across the world, are using his initial innovation,” Smith said.

The company started in Scottsdale, Arizona, but after 10 years, Curtis took over, and moved Paddletek to Niles, Michigan.

As it grew, other entrepreneurs in Niles, started to take notice.

“I started on $100 33 years ago and I recognized an entrepreneurism, expertise level. So, I applied for a tribute from Governor Whitmer, and she agreed,” said Madelyn Patterson, the community member, and local entrepreneur that nominated Paddletek to be recognized.

Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, then created a proclamation that commended Paddletek for it’s growth and innovation in Michigan.

" Oh, it was my great honor today to come present a proclamation to Paddletek from our Governor, Gretchen Whitmer for their years in business here and their innovation,” said Karen Kemp, the Chair of the South County Democratic Club.

Paddletek started with one employee and has grown to have 40. The compnay has even looked at moving to a new building to them outgrowing their current space.

“It is really a testament to the team that we have here. It’s not just one person, it wasn’t just an idea. It was really the entire team and the culture that we built here, to allow us to grow to the levels that we have,” said Smith.

Paddletek will also be recognized by Niles Township Park when they unveil their new pickleball court on Saturday.

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