Newell Rubbermaid Inc. closed its Canton, Ohio-area factory that makes child car seats this spring, but the firm could reopen it as part of its Home Products Division - if local government and school officials approve a tax abatement package.
``The whole project rests on whether or not that abatement goes through,'' said Phillip Clouse, operations director for Newell Rubbermaid. ``That's a big if, and we're hoping to have that answered in the next 14 days.''
The former Rubbermaid Inc. acquired the injection molding factory in 1998 when it bought Century Products Co. Last spring, Newell Rubbermaid announced it was shutting down the factory in Perry Township, Ohio, and moving the work to other locations, including another Century plant in Macedonia, Ohio.
At the time, officials told workers that the plant and equipment were outdated and would cost too much to update.
If the plant reopens, the company has promised to create as many as 250 full-time jobs, according to a story in the Aug. 21 Massillon Independent. The company wants a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement on all new additions to the factory, the newspaper reported. At least 25 percent of employees must be Perry Township residents, and the company is required to make a large donation to the Perry Local School District.
Any tax abatement must get preliminary approval from Perry Township trustees and the Perry Local School District. Township trustees and school officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
Stark County commissioners would grant the final approval. Contacted Aug. 22, a spokeswoman said the commissioners had not received a proposal yet.
The Home Products Division makes housewares such as plastic trash cans, food-storage containers, laundry baskets and storage bins. Keri Butler, spokeswoman for Rubbermaid Home Products, declined to say which products would be made at the plant.
Earlier this year, Rubbermaid Home Products placed one of the largest orders in recent years for injection molding machines - for 45 presses from Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.
Rubbermaid said the presses are going to several North American plants for new product development, but refused to identify the plants or products. Butler said the company does not disclose that type of manufacturing information.
However, a machinery industry source who is knowledgeable about the deal said the 45-press order is split about evenly between Husky's hybrid presses, the Hylectric, and Quadloc two-platen machines.
Some large-tonnage Hylectrics are for a Rubbermaid Home Products factory in Mogadore, Ohio, near Akron, to mold the new Take Along food-storage containers, said the source, who spoke on the condition he would not be named.
Butler confirmed that the company is making food-storage products at the plant. ``That's predominantly the place where we make food storage containers, there in Mogadore,'' she said.
Newell Rubbermaid is positioning the thin-wall Take Along to compete against inexpensive thermoformed containers such as GladWare.