OTTAWA, KAN. (June 1, 12:45 p.m. ET) — When a competitor offered to buy its pet products business last year, the owners of Kennel-Aire LLC took the offer. Now they are putting the facility and its machinery up for a sale in a June 26 auction.
“We did not want to get out of the business,” said Chester Beavers, former chief operating officer and one of four active partners of Kennel-Aire. “We sold it because we had a willing [buyer].”
The buyer was rival Doskocil Manufacturing Co. Inc., an Arlington, Texas, company that does business as Petmate. Doskocil paid Kennel-Aire an undisclosed price in July 2011 for various assets including patents, intellectual property, customer lists and tooling.
Ottawa, Kan.-based Kennel-Aire made plastic and wire crates, plastic carriers, and plastic accessories.
Beavers said the business had employed 75 in the plastics area and 44 in its wire division. However, Petmate moved the work to its Arlington facility, so the Ottawa plant closed in November.
The Branford Group of Branford, Conn., is conducting the auction as a webcast and on-location event. It will include 16 injection molding machines, which start at 375 tons of clamping force and include a 1,000 ton Milacron and a 1,450 ton Mitsubishi press. The auction includes other machinery, a complete tool room and silos.
Beavers said a buyer may be interested in reopening the plant.
“If it can sold as an ongoing concern, you betcha, there's nothing better than that,” Beavers said. “Our plastic business grew significantly over the years,” he said, noting that the company bought the plant in 2006.
The Ottawa plant once ran three shifts, five days a week, and the Kansas location was strategically located for easy shipping, he said.
Beavers said Kennel-Aire was founded in 1957, and started offering plastic products after purchasing Plasti-crate in 1996.