AKRON, OHIO (Updated Jan. 31, 2:40 p.m. ET) — Newell Rubbermaid Inc. is once again investing in one of its U.S. manufacturing plants — this time the expansion will be in Ohio.
The company announced on Jan. 30 that it will invest more than $25 million and add nearly 140 full-time jobs to its existing injection molding plant in Mogadore, Ohio, near Akron.
The company and the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce said the investment will include buying new machinery, plus infrastructure improvements. The plant currently employs more than 700. A spokesman said there is sufficient space in Mogadore to accommodate the manufacturing expansion.
The Mogadore expansion will be on top of a previously announced $26.6-million expansion of the firm's Winfield, Kan., plant, stated spokesman David Doolittle in an e-mail. Expansions in Winfield and Mogadore will share production moved from Newell Rubbermaid's Greenville, Texas, injection molding plant, which is slated to close in mid-year. Winfield and Mogadore each will take on production that fits “the profile of current production there,” Doolittle explained.
Newell Rubbermaid is still evaluating potential sites for a distribution center near Mogadore, but the company is not ready to announce any details, according to Doolittle. Local press reports recently indicated Newell Rubbermaid withdrew an application to rezone land in Mogadore for a previously announced warehouse expansion. The company's existing Mogadore plant, with 850,000 square feet of manufacturing and storage space, is not big enough to accommodate distribution to be moved from Wooster by the end of 2012.
The Akron Beacon Journal reported that residents near the targeted Mogadore expansion objected to the plan to move the distribution center there. It would have entailed rezoning a golf course and increased truck traffic on nearby roads.
Newell Rubbermaid picked Mogadore over Kansas for the latest expansion project, according to a news release from the Akron chamber and the city. A Job Retention Tax Credit was a major factor in the firm's decision to invest in Mogadore, municipal officials and Newell Rubbermaid claimed. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 75 percent, 15-year Refundable Ohio Job Retention Tax Credit to the company as part of its commitment to retain the existing Mogadore facility.
On Dec. 22, Rubbermaid had announced that it would relocate 200 jobs from the firm's Greenville plant to Winfield. The Greenville closure will eliminate 490 jobs there.
“Rubbermaid has a long history of investing in Ohio and we appreciate the strong partnership we have with the State of Ohio, the County of Summit and the people of Mogadore,” said J.B. Broadous, director of operations for Newell Rubbermaid Mogadore. “Together with our dedicated employees, we are proud to continue to offer our consumers innovative and quality products made in the U.S.A.”
The Greenville closure is part of a project announced in mid-October. As part of that same project, the Sandy Springs, Ga.-based firm is closing the former Rubbermaid Commercial Products' Martinsburg, W.Va., distribution center and relocating it to nearby Frederick County, W.Va.
In a separate program, Newell Professional will invest $67.3 million to expand its Winchester, Va., injection molding plant, formerly under the Rubbermaid Commercial Products banner, and to acquire and renovate a 454,000-square-foot plant in Frederick County to house the new distribution center.
Rubbermaid Home Products is being replaced by Home Organization and Style, a global business unit within the newly created Newell Consumer operating group. Newell Professional and Baby & Parenting are the firm's other operating groups.
Rubbermaid has a history of moving work from other plants to Mogadore. In 2006, the company closed a 300,000-square-foot injection molding plant in Perry Township, near Canton, Ohio, and moved the work to Mogadore. Then, in 2009, Newell Rubbermaid closed its injection molding operation at its Graco factory in Macedonia, Ohio, and moved the injection presses to Mogadore.