Rubbermaid Home Products Inc. of Fairlawn, Ohio, will close its blow molding plant in Centerville, Iowa, less than a year after announcing a $10.2 million expansion at the same site.
``We had talked to the state about doing an expansion, but it never came to fruition,'' human resources Vice President Joe Marotti said in a June 15 telephone interview.
The 500,000-square-foot facility will close by Sept. 15, according to Appanoose Economic Development Corp. The move means 500 workers will be laid off. Rubbermaid officials told workers about the plan in a meeting June 14.
Marotti said 250 of the 500 workers were offered transfers to a Rubbermaid operation in Winfield, Kan.
The plant has been in Centerville for about 20 years, officials said. It operated as a Rubbermaid Commercial Products plant before the Home Products division took over. Home Products makes items like outdoor sheds and refuse containers.
``We have additional room in our facility in Winfield, Kan., and we're consolidating that all in one facility,'' Marotti said. Roughly 15 blow molding machines will be moved to Kansas.
The Winfield plant molds insulated coolers and jugs.
Marotti had said in August that Centerville was selected for the expansion because it had room to accept capacity. The plant was supposed to begin injection molding shelving and storage units by late fall.
Economic development officials said the company did not take advantage of incentives offered by the state, including investment tax credits. The company's total award would have been just over $1 million, according to the Iowa Department of Economic Development.
``Yes, we did make an award, an enterprise-zone tax benefit award, to Rubbermaid last summer,'' said Tina Hoffman, spokeswoman for the department. ``They never did sign the contract to undertake that expansion and never received that award.''
According to Hoffman, Rubbermaid re-evaluated the plant after new management took over at parent company Newell Rubbermaid Co.
Marotti said the plant is being closed under a Newell Rubbermaid plan calling for 5,000 jobs to be cut and one-third of its 80 manufacturing facilities to close.
``We haven't lost any business,'' Marotti said. ``We're just consolidating the business. Both of the businesses in Winfield and Centerville have grown. It's just a matter of a business decision to become more efficient. We're striving to take costs out of any part of the business.''
The company earlier this year closed a 300,000-square-foot injection molding plant in Perry Township, near Canton, Ohio. The capacity was moved to a Rubbermaid plant in nearby Mogadore, Ohio. Newell owns both buildings.
Perry Township officials reported at the time that they were confused by Rubbermaid's move because they had given the company a 10-year tax abatement, and Rubbermaid had discussed expanding the plant.
With the Centerville closing, Rubbermaid Home Products will operate sites in Mogadore; Greenville, Texas; Jackson, Mo.; Mississauga, Ontario; and Winfield.