The ``Newellization'' of Rubbermaid has begun with the planned shutdown of a Little Tikes Co. plant.
Recently formed Newell Rubbermaid Inc. announced March 30 that it plans to close Little Tikes' Shippensburg, Pa., plant by June 11. It will move equipment and production to Little Tikes plants in City of Industry, Calif., and Hudson and Sebring, Ohio, said Lance Macon, spokesman for Newell Rubbermaid. Little Tikes had been a division of Rubbermaid.
Little Tikes vice president of human resources Scott Silver said in a news release that excess manufacturing capacity and the need to streamline distribution spurred the toy company last year to consider shutting a plant.
Macon said in a telephone interview that the closure is the first of many steps, including other potential plant closures, for the newly formed company to cut costs.
Shippensburg rotationally molds large, juvenile products such as playground sets. The 300,000-square-foot facility employs about 300. State and local officials put together a $5.5 million financial aid package to lure Little Tikes to build there early this decade.
Newell Co. of Freeport, Ill., and Rubbermaid Inc. of Wooster, Ohio, completed their merger March 24, following separate March 11 meetings where shareholders of both companies overwhelmingly approved the deal.
Newell Rubbermaid has yet to announce the location of its new headquarters. Ohio government officials have offered grants and tax abatements to lure Rubbermaid to maintain operations and jobs in the state and especially in Wooster, Rubbermaid's former headquarters, where it plans to build a $51.5 million manufacturing and distribution center.
Separately, Newell Rubbermaid agreed to buy French window furnishings manufacturer Ateliers 28. The Tremblay-les-Villages company has annual sales of $40 million in decorative and functional drapery hardware. It complements Newell window fashion operations in Europe.