St. Louis, Mo.-based American Plastics LLC will invest $3.5 million and hire more than 130 employees by the end of the year at its Tiffin, Ohio, injection molding plant to meet increased demand for plastic shelving and totes sold under the Craftsman label for Lowe's.
The facility was operated by the former Katy Industries Inc., which emerged from bankruptcy in 2018 as American Plastics under the ownership of the private equity firms Highview Capital LLC and Victory Part Capital Advisers LLC.
The owners made $1 million in upgrades to the 68,000-square-foot Tiffin facility in 2018 and are following that up with a $2.5 million investment in tooling this year, according to a news release from the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, a private, nonprofit corporation that supports business and community growth in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio.
The Tiffin plant will be the sole manufacturer of the Craftsman-brand shelving, which will be sold at more than 1,500 Lowe's stores in North America. The facility specializes in the production of plastic shelves and totes, such as the Commander and Blue Hawk brands, also for Lowe's, as well as the Husky brand for Home Depot and the Tough Box brand for Sam's Club.
The Tiffin plant had 27 employees at the beginning of 2018, but the workforce will grow to at least 165 people by the end of 2019, which represents an increase of 138 or more jobs, according to the economic development agency.
"This is a huge positive step forward for our operations here and represents both the company's bright future and the quality of our workforce," Plant Manager Joe Roth said in the release. "We contribute our growth and success to our dedicated team, innovation, quality and customer relationships. I only see this getting stronger as we grow alongside with the city of Tiffin."
The Tiffin plant is one of American Plastics' 15 manufacturing and distribution facilities. In addition to plastic shelves and totes, the company designs and manufactures tool boxes, work stations and other products for household and garage storage as well as commercial cleaning.
A news release on the company website about the April 2018 acquisitions of Centrex Plastics LLC in Sycamore, Ohio, and Creative Plastic Concepts in Findlay, Ohio, said American Plastics has five manufacturing sites and 10 distribution centers. The two deals were made to accelerate growth of the consumer storage business through innovation, the release said.