Lakeland Mold Co. is closing down its plant in Stow, Ohio, citing a slowdown in demand. The plant, acquired when Lakeland bought Wheeler Boyce Co. in 2006, has made rotational molds for 33 years.
Lakeland Mold President John Newhouse said work will be transferred to Lakeland's headquarters plant in Brainerd, Minn. Lakeland Mold officials are talking to the 25 remaining Wheeler Boyce employees to see how many are interested in transferring from Ohio to Minnesota, he said.
Lakeland Mold employs about 80 people in Brainerd, he said.
Both Lakeland Mold and Wheeler Boyce manufacture cast aluminum molds and machined molds, for rotational molding.
``We're in the process of closing the facility,'' Newhouse said. ``We're doing it in a controlled shutdown. We're providing the appropriate response to customers and orders and so on.'' He said the Stow manufacturing operation will be winding down for about another month, before the plant closes in late August or early September.
Bud Boyce founded the Stow mold maker in 1975. Newhouse said Lakeland leased the 120,000-square-foot factory from Boyce, who now is looking to lease or sell the building.
The original deal was touted as giving Lakeland close access to northeastern Ohio, home of two major toy rotomolders, Step2 Co. and Little Tikes Co., among other customers. Rotomolding machinery maker Ferry Industries Inc. is nearby. Officials expected the combined company would have sales of about $12 million.
But Newhouse said business began to fall off because of the economic slowdown and a slumping housing market. In the past six months, he said, customers have shelved several major mold programs.
Climbing resin prices are hurting the rotomolding industry along with the rest of the plastics processing industry.
Lakeland Mold was founded in 1988.