BRIGHAM CITY – Brigham City is not only famous for peaches and produce, the Box Elder County seat is also the home of one of the premier bowling ball manufacturing companies in the United States.
Storm Products Inc., the fourth-largest manufacturer of bowling balls in the world, is located at 165 S. 800 W. in Brigham City. They have been in business since 1985 and started making bowling balls in an old Indian School. They moved to their current location in 1994.
Storm Products Inc. Vice President of Marketing Steve Kloempken is a key figure in getting their brand to the masses.
“I started in 1996. I was a collegiate bowler and wanted to be involved in the industry somehow,” he said. “It was either become a professional bowler, or find a job in the business.”
Kloempken is a member of the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Hall of Fame.
He is also a two-time Team USA member, two-time World Champion, and two-time US Open Championships winner; as well a three-time Collegiate National Champion at Wichita State University.
The Wichita State business management major found a job at Storm Bowling Products, and he likes where he is at.
“We do lot of cool stuff to get the message out,” Kloempken said. “We focus on the competitive bowling balls, it’s a high-end bowling ball.”
Storm Products owners, Bill and Barbara Chrisman, had a chemical business and sold industrial cleaners in Ogden. As part of the business, they cleaned bowling balls. At the time, most bowling balls were all polyesters.
With the encouragement of a fellow bowler and friend, Keith Orton, the Christman’s began making bowling balls out of urethane. Urethane is high gloss and images can be imbedded in the Bowling Ball without affecting the ball’s performance.
The company has grown over the past 20 years to a 74,000 square foot manufacturing and shipping facility just north of the Box Elder High School football field.
There are only nine places in the world where bowling balls are made, and the biggest manufacture of high performance bowling balls is in Brigham City.
He said you can be in big bowling centers like Chicago, Milwaukee and ask where Storm bowling balls are made, and people will tell you Brigham City, Utah.
“Our business has been growing with professional bowling competition tournaments,” Kloempken said. “College and high school tournaments are also big right now.”
There have been some changes in the way bowling balls are made over the years.
“The chemicals they use for cover stock, the time it takes, and the methods the balls are made,” he said, “we’ve seen change on how everything is done, from the inside out.”
One thing Kloempken said the company is excited about, is the fragrance they have developed for bowling balls.
Bowling scents are usually associated with bowling alley smoke, beer and body odor. Storm has developed scented bowling balls, and they are a big hit with people that roll a ball into pins.
“We have a patent for fragrances making bowling balls smell good,” he said. “The first one came out in 2000, it was orange.”
Since them Storm has developed 40 different scents.
The Brigham facility has hundreds of balls on display in their front area, but they only sell apparel from the facility. All of the bowling balls are sold by retail outlets.