A merciless economy has taken another victim.
Akron-based Plastic Lumber Co. Inc. is going out of business and liquidating its assets at auction on July 30.
We just didn't make it. That's all there is to it, President Alan Robbins said in a July 15 telephone interview.
A confluence of unwelcome economic conditions, including the 2008 resin price hikes, reduced demand in all of the company's market segments, and the disintegration of one of its largest customers broke the proverbial camel's back.
With the resin price increases in '08, we couldn't pass them along quickly enough, Robbins said. It destroyed our profitability. Our sales volume was decent. But it just eroded our margins.
The company serves five market segments, and all of them plummeted, he said. The government sector, which purchased parks and recreation products from the company, fell 50 percent, he said.
It made it difficult to come around, he said.
A newly formed outfit Bright Idea Shops LLC is purchasing some of Plastic Lumber Co.'s intangible assets and relaunching some of the product areas.
Robbins will be the president of the new company, which he said will be a much more scaled-down operation than his extrusion and rotational molding operation.
Bright Idea Shops will not extrude lumber, he said. Instead, the company will purchase plastic lumber products elsewhere and provide value-added services.
It's a vastly different business plan, he said, adding that the company will focus on Internet sales. We're trying to modernize market concepts.
Plastic Lumber operated out of a 120,000-square-foot site that was once part of Akron's bustling rubber tire industry. Bright Idea Shops will stay in the downtown location, but will be using much less space, Robbins said.
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