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UL Solutions Retail Center of Excellence Opens for Business

The grand opening showed customers firsthand the innovative laboratories and industry-first Product Experience Center, ready to help customers tackle increasingly complex retail challenges.

Retail Center of Excellence Ribboncutting

March 4, 2024

Nearly 200 customers, employees and elected officials celebrated the UL Solutions Retail Center of Excellence grand opening recently in northwest Arkansas, recognizing the milestone while seeing the impact that the facility and services can have on product safety, quality, performance and sustainability.

“The center is officially open for business!” said a news reporter on the local evening news. Two TV news crews and the largest newspaper in Arkansas were on site to cover the event, which was attended by U.S. Representative Steve Womack and Mayor Chris Moore of Lowell, Arkansas, where the center is located.

The 100,000-square-foot facility is the largest UL Solutions investment in the retail and consumer products industry since the company started serving the sector in 2011. It is among the most advanced consumer product testing facilities in the United States and features a first-of-its-kind Product Experience Center for studying consumer insights prior to production. It also offers testing and technical support services specially designed for private-label products.

“We’re excited to share this landmark development with all of you,” Jennifer Scanlon, president and CEO of UL Solutions, told the group at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This grand opening represents our dedication to our customers, our employees, the retail and consumer products industry at large and this vibrant region.”

Customers took tours of the various laboratories, including the rain-simulation, chemistry and packaging laboratories. They attended pivotal presentations on trends in the sector and took deep-dive looks at specific product design considerations and regulations. Leaders from UL Solutions emphasized the importance of testing during the design process of any product.

“We want to be partnering with you before commercialization,” said Robert Slone, senior vice president and chief scientist of UL Solutions, during his Safety Science Trends in Retail presentation. “The more we can get out in front, before a product is in manufacturing or out on shelves, the better for you and for your customers.”

The center was purpose-built and resulted from months of collaboration with customers. Retailers face increasingly complex safety, sustainability and quality assurance challenges, as well as more regulatory oversight and accelerated product lifecycles.

Customers at the event also attended interactive demonstrations to look at specific needs, such as best practices in sustainability claims and compliance with Reese’s Law, which provides federal safety requirements for button cell or coin batteries and is named for a child who died after ingesting a battery.

“This Retail Center of Excellence supports our customers at each stage of the product lifecycle — from design to market surveillance, with a special focus on private brand innovation,” said Josh Warren, vice president and general manager of the Retail and Consumer Products group at UL Solutions. “What’s more, because our team is fully integrated into the broader UL Solutions network, we can bring a vast range of scientific, engineering, process and technological expertise from around the world to any given project.”

Learn more about UL Solutions expertise in the retail marketplace.