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Crofton toy tape company announces partnership with consumer tape company

Crofton-based InRoad Toys, which makes paper tape that sticks to flat surfaces to create roads for toy cars, announced a partnership Monday with one of the nation's largest consumer tape makers, North Carolina-based Shurtape Technologies LLC.

InRoad Toys, which began selling its PlayTape products in Wal-Mart stores in January, also said it has expanded its distribution channels to include international toy retailer Imaginarium, select Target stores and O'Reilly Auto Parts, a 4,900-store automotive chain.

The investment by Shurtape, maker of Duck Tape, FrogTape and T-Rex tape, will enable additional growth for InRoad. InRoad said it finalized a round of funding led by Shurtape for an undisclosed amount.

Since the product was introduced three years ago at the International Toy Fair in New York, distribution has mushroomed from a few small toy stores to 12,000 outlets in 35 countries. The company this year was named the Maryland Home-Based Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

PlayTape, which resembles roads and rail lines, is billed as easy to tear and reposition, allowing children to create instant pathways for toy vehicles. The company also sells Hot Wheels PlayTape through a licensing agreement reached just over a year ago with Mattel Inc.

The partnership with Shurtape, which became InRoad's primary manufacturer earlier this year, will help InRoad to expand production while increasing efficiency and reducing costs, the companies said.

Crofton resident Andy Musliner, InRoad's CEO, started the business in 2002 from his home when he began trying to design a toy for building roads for his then-3-year-old son, a toy-car fanatic.

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