A 1-year-old joint venture, WG ABM Inc. of Brampton, Ontario, is looking to expand in the Toronto area.
The injection molder and custom packager is a venture between WG Pro-Manufacturing Inc. and ABM Italia SpA of Treviso, Italy. The venture now has a 65,000-square-foot plant and is looking to buy another facility, officials said during the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.
WG ABM Inc. President Karl Wirtz formed the joint venture to make the KIS line of housewares. Molding is split between Canada and Italy, and toolmaking is handled in Italy.
Wirtz, who started WG Pro-Manufacturing's custom packaging division 13 years ago and the injection molding division roughly nine years ago, redefined his business to make the proprietary line of housewares products.
``There's a lot of boredom going on right now in the North American market,'' he said. ``There's a lot of malaise. There's not a lot of new stuff happening.''
Wirtz hopes to change that mind-set with design features like compartments in storage totes for desiccant or deodorizers, and trash cans that have removable inside bins.
``Unless you are changing and redefining all the time, life can become very boring,'' he said. ``I enjoy the challenge. When you have your own product line, you have confidence in what you build in the future. It allows us to be much more consistent in our own production and max out on what we produce.
``You can beat China,'' he added. ``You have to be smart about it. We have to start looking after our own businesses [in North America] as opposed to just jumping across the pond [to Asia].''
With the backing of a company like ABM Italia, WG ABM does its own toolmaking and focuses on longer-term programs with larger-volume products.
``To be competitive, you have to build very high-quality, high-speed, very high-functioning tools,'' he said.
At the National Hardware Show, held May 9-11, officials showcased products like Duetto, a trash can with two storage compartments: one side for wet garbage and one for dry recyclables.