Managers have purchased one of Hedstrom Corp.'s former rotational molding plants in Ashland, Ohio. The purchase, for $8 million, creates a new toy company.
Ball, Bounce and Sport Inc. began operating Oct. 21 in the 110,000-square-foot building with 11 rotomolding machines, said Jim Braeunig, a former Hedstrom vice president and general manager and now president of Ball, Bounce and Sport. The new firm will keep Hedstrom's trade name and logos.
``We're back up and running,'' Braeunig said in a Nov. 2 telephone interview. ``The funds were transferred yesterday and the deal closed yesterday. We're reconstituting the ball business. It will include the joint venture we had put together in China, the industrial [custom rotomolding] business, the Canadian business and the U.S. business.''
Hedstrom, based in Arlington Heights, Ill., had filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and ceased operations at six plants Oct. 6, cutting 800 jobs. The Ashland site employed about 160.
Braeunig joined with Mike Kelly, former Hedstrom divisional controller who now is vice president of finance for Ball, Bounce and Sport; and Jim Purtrell, an outside local investor. Three other private investors also are involved. The new firm has warehouses in Dallas; Reno, Nev.; Dothan, Ala.; and Cambridge, Ontario.
Officials did not buy a second Ashland plant, which had been vacant since Hedstrom moved production to China in 2002.
Hedstrom's Ashland workforce was unionized, but Braeunig said it is too soon to tell if that will be the case with the new firm's workforce of 70, which could grow to 100.
``Right now, we started a brand-new company and we're just in the midst of working through that,'' he said. ``The bankruptcy negated the [union] contract. ... We are bringing back employees through a temp agency. We will reorganize and restructure how we do business.''