About Us

KENT celebrates sixty years in business!

Earning a reputation as the trusted brand for the commercial and marine business, KENT is now the market leader in safety products. Leveraging our sixty years of combined experience, we continue to innovate in order to offer quality, technologically-advanced products, while maintaining our tradition of bringing new, improved products to you, our customer.

Our success dates back to when KENT Sporting Goods Company was founded as a subsidiary of Eagle Rubber Company, Inc. Prior to the KENT Company purchase, Eagle Rubber Company had dedicated their entire facility to manufacturing products for the Army and Navy during World War II. These products included a self-inflating life belt, orally inflatable life belt, and inflatable life rafts, all designed to save and protect the lives of servicemen fighting the War.

Six decades later, the KENT brand is still using this same knowledge and expertise in developing and manufacturing inflatable life jackets and we take pride as being the world's largest inflatable life jacket manufacturer in the market today.

We have diversified our business to remain relevant in the many markets we serve, and will continue to be your long term partner and a trusted leader in providing consistent product quality and innovation.

Kent is committed to providing our customers with safe, reliable, and user-friendly products. At all levels of the company, Kent promotes responsibility and concern for the safety of our customers, employees, and the general public. Safety, quality, and reliability are critical performance measures for all Kent products.

It is our responsibility to understand the issues involving safety associated with our products, and to continually improve safety by:

  • Maintaining product design criteria and quality controls.
  • Engaging with consumers, dealers, manufacturers, professional athletes, and industry organizations.
  • Staying current with new regulations, industry-best practices, and marketplace conditions.
  • Understanding operating hazards for all of a product's intended and foreseeable uses.

 Kent's goal is to make each product safe for its intended purpose when properly used, while maintaining the product's quality and integrity.

The History of Kent

1957 - Kent Sporting Goods Company, Inc. founded.

1959 - Acquires Ben-Sun Products Company, a marine flotation manufacturer producing USCG approved PFDs; moves their business to Ohio.

1961 - Outgrows current space and relocates its marine business to new offices in New London, Ohio.

1962 - Moves into a newly purchased building in New London, Ohio. The company still resides here today.

1971 - Kent Sporting Goods Company, Inc. is sold to Brown Group.

1981 - Brown Group sells Kent Sporting Goods Company, Inc. to a private investment group. Under the leadership of Robert Archer, Kent Sporting Goods Company, Inc. becomes a major factor in the Type I and Type II kapok commercial vest market. This begins the initial entry in to the commercial market.

1982 - Continues to lead the way by entering into a relationship with Casad Manufacturing (a water sports company based in Celina, Ohio) to begin manufacturing Type III ski vests for them. Kent Sporting Goods Company's reputation for making high quality, competitively priced products quickly spreads. Their OEM business conti nues to grow.

1988 - Acquires Black Sheep, a brand specializing in marine safety equipment, hunting apparel, and gun cases. This acquisition brings new product introductions to the marketplace and increased market share.

1993 - Additional customers in the OEM business include EP Skis, Connelly, O'Brien and HO Sports.

2002 - Becomes active in growing their business through the acquisition of leading specialty water sports companies (namely HO Sports, O'Brien, Liquid Force, and Connelly).

2008 - Expands the reach of their existing multi -brand portfolio and enters into the sporting goods market through a strategic alliance with Absolute Outdoor, Inc. - a water sports and outdoor recreation company featuring the Onyx and Full Throttle brands.

2012 - Kent Sporting Goods Company, Inc. leverages its heritage and tradition by expanding further into the commercial market with the launch of KENT branded safety products into the commercial marketplace. This will expand on Kent Sporting Goods Company's proven track record of success in the marine and sporting goods markets, and at the same time, help increase market share and enter new, underserved markets. Kent Safety Products are launched at major trade shows to showcase the new line of water safety products to the commercial industry.