The trend of consolidating facilities continues in the housewares industry, as Iris USA Inc. announced the closing of one site while expanding others.
The Nov. 22 announcement from the injection molder, based in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., includes plans to close Iris' original manufacturing facility in Stockton, Calif., by March. Some 70 workers will be laid off, and the company will sell the building.
``This was a strategic decision for us,'' said Dick Konsinowski, corporate director of human resources, in a Nov. 22 telephone interview. ``We didn't make it on the spur of the moment. This is something you study over a long period of time.''
The decision was based on a number of factors, he said, including the facility's inadequate size and the age of the equipment. Parent company Iris Ohyama of Japan opened the Stockton site 11 years ago as a warehouse for pet-food products that it shipped to Japan. That building was converted into a manufacturing site, the original injection molding location for Iris' products.
As Iris grew, it found sites in Wisconsin and Texas were better-suited logistically.
``If you were starting a business and knew that you'd be expanding nationally, somewhere like Stockton would not be a location you'd choose,'' Konsinowski said.
The company has 32 presses in Stockton, which likely will be moved to Texas or Wisconsin.
Iris has added 245,000 square feet of warehouse space in Pleasant Prairie, and its site in Mesquite, Texas, will have warehouse space expanded by summer 2006. The plant will add 140,000 square feet in that project, bringing its total to nearly 400,000 square feet.
Officials acknowledged difficulties in plastics housewares in a news release.
Other housewares molders to announce plant shutdowns in recent weeks include Chicago-based Home Products International Inc. and Durant, Okla.-based Cornerstone Products Inc.