This interview is reprinted from The Toybook’s Toy Report May 12, 2021
For more than 40 years, GPI Inc. (Grand Prix International) has been the best-kept secret in the toys and games industry. The company is made up of a team of experts to provide custom manufacturing and product sourcing services to its clients worldwide. GPI brings to the table its depth of expertise for a wide range of services, from playtesting to freight and logistics. The Toy Book caught up with David Blanchard, vice president of business development at GPI, about the company’s history, its recently launched product development team, making sure the “spaghetti sticks,” and more.
Toy Book: Tell us about GPI‘s history and background in the toy and game industry.
David Blanchard: GPI got its start back in the ’70s when John Fisher left Milton Bradley and began supplying plastic components, such as dice and poker chips, to other companies in the industry. Years later, after the company was taken over by his son Mike Fisher, GPI’s manufacturing capabilities broadened drastically. What started as one compression mold in a garage in China has grown into a network of turnkey factories proficient in printing, injection molding, intricate die-cutting, complex assembly, and QC.
TB: GPI’s roots have been in helping its clients manufacture, test toys and games, and handle freight. How do these services help your clients take their products to the next level?
DB: With more than 40 years of experience managing production for companies of all sizes, we’re fully aware of how easily little “oops” can turn into big “uh-ohs.” Whether we’re recommending cost-saving materials or production efficiencies, troubleshooting a design flaw, ensuring proper safety testing is being conducted, or simply making sure all shipping and logistics paperwork is in order, when GPI manages the production of a game, you’re getting a team of people that have your back and help take the headaches out of overseas production.
TB: GPI sold its sister company, the Haywire Group, to University Games in 2018, but retained its staff. What are the advantages of having this staff being part of GPI? READ REST OF INTERVIEW