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Taylor Guitars Still Strumming Along As Example Of San Diego Manufacturing Success

Evening Edition

— San Diego is home to more than 2,800 manufacturing companies, with products ranging from medical devices, paddle boards to guitars to name a few.

Aired 10/4/13 on KPBS News.

To encourage people to take a closer look at the impact of these businesses this week was deemed Manufacturing Week by the City of San Diego.

To encourage people to take a closer look at the impact of these businesses this week was deemed Manufacturing Week by the City of San Diego.

About 25 percent of San Diego's workforce comes from the manufacturing sector. Taylor Guitars, based in El Cajon, produced 120,000 guitars last year. With 400 employees in San Diego, Taylor manufactures five different shapes and 11 different models. The business has struck a positive chord with several top artists, including Taylor Swift, who despite her name has no relation to the brand founders, but is a big fan of the product.

"Taylor guitars is one of those iconic brands we have here in San Diego that if folks know guitars globally you and I could be in Europe or Asia, and if people are really into guitars, they know Taylor guitars," Mark Cafferty of the regional Economic Development Corp. said.

Economic Development Corp.'s job is to attract and retain businesses like Taylor in San Diego. Cafferty said they're also trying to change the perception of manufacturing from old and messy to clean, efficient and profitable. 

"So when our economy really becomes the great economy we think it can be, is when we take those great ideas and we put them to market and create the product and then distribute it to the rest of the world. That's when San Diego will start to look like a very different place to folks across the globe," he said.

Taylor makes about 500 guitars a day at factories in El Cajon and Tecate, Mexico. The company distributes worldwide and celebrates 40 years later this month.  

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