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A Dallas holding company that owns P&E Inc., a molder of crates for the commercial dairy market, diversified into consumer products late last year by purchasing Ohio houseware and toy molder Maidware Products Inc.

Alpha Holdings Inc. of Dallas bought Maidware, of Hebron, Ohio, from Kraco Inc. in September. Maidware President Jay Rigby said Alpha was attracted to the housewares maker's ability to mold organizer boxes and totes — a fast-growing part of the housewares market.

Alpha, through its P&E unit in Orlando, Fla., had a strong presence in the commercial dairy crate market, Rigby said in a Jan. 14 interview. P&E also molds shipping containers for the beverage and bakery industries.

He said the acquisition was ``an attempt to level out some of our products'' with consumer items. Alpha had been looking to acquire a company that made large-sized polyethylene products that could use Alpha's large-tonnage injection presses.

Maidware will continue to run its main distribution center at its headquarters in Hebron.

Maidware products are molded on a contract basis by Lancaster Plastics of Lancaster, Ohio. Lancaster Plastics is a unit of Kraco.