Holiday Housewares Inc.'s plant in Leominster is on Tucker Drive, a constant reminder of the pitfalls of the plastics housewares sector. But Holiday officials said their plan to convert the now-defunct Tucker Housewares' facility is creating new opportunities.
``This clearly makes a statement that Holiday is committed to the business and the retail environment,'' Russell H. Brillon, Holiday vice president of finance, said March 26.
Holiday, formed in 1994 as a product line subsidiary of Plastican Inc., now operates out of the largest industrial building in Leominster. The private company purchased the 566,000-square-foot property in September 2001 out of bankruptcy. Tucker was liquidated when its parent, Zeta Consumer Products Corp., underwent Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in April 2000.
Before the move, Holiday operated out of a 120,000-square-foot facility, plus some scattered warehouses in the area.
``We hit the ground running,'' said Brillon, noting that the purchase took place in early September and that by Dec. 1 the plant was in full operation. ``We were operating out of five facilities and now, we operate from one and we have room to grow.''
Holiday uses the additional space for handling materials and finished product.
The company added five injection presses after the move, but Brillon did not reveal the company's total number of machines or workers. Holiday does not use the front of the building where Tucker's headquarters had been, but instead uses office space in the back as well as the manufacturing area.
The firm shares top management with Plastican. Sandro Clementi is chairman, while his son, John Clementi, is president and Brillon is vice president of finance.
Yet, Brillon said, ``Both companies have distinctly different markets. While the technologies are similar, the products are different and deserve their own focus.''
Plastican formed in 1970 and is known for its 5-gallon buckets, which are used to package all sorts of products, including spackling compounds, lubricants, food products and pool chemicals.
Holiday concentrates on food and general storage items. It also makes waste and laundry containers.
Customers include Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp., as well as troubled Kmart Corp. and Ames Department Stores.
Brillon worked at Tucker for 18 years, joining Plastican and Holiday in 1996. He has seen how quickly the market can turn, having dealt with bankruptcies of such retailers as Caldor, Ames and Kmart in recent years.
He said limiting risk and constantly monitoring customers' creditworthiness are imperative to keeping a housewares company ahead of the curve.