Arko Holdings Ltd., an Israeli investment company, is shaking up the U.S. housewares industry with the purchase of a beefed-up Aero Housewares LLC that will offer a larger offering of plastic storage and houseware containers.
At the same time, Aero Housewares has purchased 130 production molds from Holiday Housewares LLC of Leominster. Holiday will exit the plastics housewares business.
Arko Holdings, a publicly listed company based in Tel Aviv, made the announcement Nov. 20. The Israeli company focuses on investments in real estate and other industries. It is led by Arie Kotler, who serves as chairman of the board and joint chief executive officer. Kotler takes over immediately as chairman and CEO of Aero Housewares.
Aero has hired Holiday's Joe Manos as vice president of sales and marketing, and will integrate the Holiday products into its own lines. Aero already is molding the new items, and will begin shipping them Jan. 1.
Aero is based in Leominster, and its main molding plant is a 500,000-square-foot facility in McDonough, Ga. The company plans to develop shipping locations to serve the West Coast in 2007.
Aero Holdings got its start when Jeff Goldberg founded Aero Plastics Inc. in Leominster in 1989. It added the McDonough location in 2003 to serve the growing dollar store market. Later, it moved most of its production to that site.
In January 2005 it filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. It emerged as Aero Housewares LLC when Goldberg bought the assets. He later purchased molds from defunct StyleMaster Inc. of Chicago, adding high-end drawers and totes.
The Holiday acquisition gives the Aero line more food storage, storage totes, storage containers, trash cans, laundry accessories, as well as utility pails, recycling bins and storage crates. Aero said the additions fill several mid-tier product gaps in the Aero line.
``Holiday Housewares will be exiting the plastics housewares business and will work with Aero,'' Holiday President John Celementi said Nov. 22 by telephone. ``They will assume the product line, selling and marketing, and we will be working through the transition.''
Celementi added that Holiday will continue to exist as a corporation, maintain the building and machinery, and will look into other unnamed options. He would not say how many people would be laid off.
Holiday formed in 1994 as a product line subsidiary of Plastican Inc. It operates out of the former Tucker Housewares facility, which is 566,000 square feet and the largest industrial building in Leominster. The sale will have no impact on the Plastican business, Celementi said.