Housewares will replace beverage cups in Louisiana, Mo., when Tamor Plastics Corp. opens a 20-press molding facility in April, saving 200 plastics jobs in the small Mississippi River town. Tamor Plastics said it has signed a two-year lease with Packaging Resources Inc. for the 150,000-square-foot building that Packaging Resources vacated last year.
Tamor supplies plastic storage crates and boxes, household and kitchen items, hangers and other products to Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target and other mass retailers from its headquarters factory in Leominster, Mass.
President Leonard Tocci said Tamor will invest between $8 million and $10 million to equip the Missouri facility with 20 Cincinnati Milacron molding machines, tooling and auxiliary equipment, and to make plant renovations. The injection molding machines will have clamping forces of 300-1,500 tons.
Tocci said the 40-year-old housewares molder wanted the Midwest plant to boost production capacity and get closer to customers. In the first year of production, Tamor Plastics will hire about 200 employees to work three shifts, 24 hours a day.
That same number of people became unemployed in November when Packaging Resources closed the plant and moved production to its existing facility in Kansas City, Mo.
Packaging Resources, based in Lake Forest, Ill., had purchased the promotional cup business, called Louisiana Plastics Inc., in 1993 from Bemis Co. Inc. of Minneapolis.
Howard Hoeper, president of Packaging Resources, said folding the Louisiana plant into the operations in Kansas City, formerly Miner Container Inc., has made it easier to retain managers and take advantage of a graphic technical center there.
David Yohn, Louisiana superintendent, said the community of 4,000 people about 60 miles north of St. Louis has other nearby industries, but no other plas-tics operations.
Founded in 1955, privately held Tamor Plastics has deep roots in the Leominster area, a center of housewares molding. It now employs 275 people there. Tocci joined in 1988 as president and one of six owners.
His father, Felo Tocci, founded Tucker Housewares in Leominster.
Leonard Tocci worked at Tucker almost 30 years before leaving in 1986 to start American Hanger Inc. in Leominster, which he sold before becoming president of Tamor.
Tamor has sales of more than $50 million, he said.