Broom and brush maker Plasticos Italianos SA de CV believes the days of Mexico's traditional coarse grass broom are numbered.
``The trend definitely is that natural-fiber brooms with wooden handles will not be manufactured in large numbers in the country for very much longer,'' the company's manager, Susana Mathus, said in a recent interview. ``Maybe they won't disappear from the market altogether because small manufacturers will continue to produce them.''
The trend away from natural-fiber brooms — otherwise known as corn brooms — toward plastic is clear enough for 25-year-old Plasticos Italianos. The Toluca, Mexico-based company, which claims to be Mexico's largest broom and brush maker, plans to extend its manufacturing base soon.
``We don't know when, but in the near future we plan to build a new plant here in Toluca,'' Mathus said.
Owned by a man who wishes to remain anonymous, the company produces 15 million plastic brooms and brushes per year and expects sales to increase 20 percent this year.
The firm is reluctant to release financial figures, but said it invested $10 million in the Toluca plant it opened in Toluca in 2004. The plant employs 300 and uses ``the best Italian and German technology available,'' according to Mathus.
Mathus said he did not have statistics on what percentage of the Mexican market Plasticos Italianos holds.
Founded in 1983, the company transferred to premises in Mexico City before moving to Toluca.
The company's extrusion lines are designed to make monofilament and fiber in different forms. The firm has Italian Borghi computerized inserting machines, according to its Web site.
According to Mathus, the company exports its products to the United States, Canada, and Central and South America. It manufactures 26 different models of brooms and cleaning brushes, plus toilet and kitchen plungers, squeegees, mops and polypropylene buckets.