Arrow Home Products LLC is moving its plastic housewares manufacturing plant from Elk Grove Village, Ill., to the site of its distribution facility in Durant, Miss.
Some of the 96 employees will also make the move, according to Human Resources Director Janice Labek. Others are facing layoffs that will begin in March.
Founded in 1961, Arrow manufactured 3,000 different products at one time but pared those down to 300 kinds of cups, bowls and containers in 2017 under the new ownership of Deltech Holdings Inc., which also owns Deltech Corp., a Baton Rouge, La., supplier of monomers and polymers.
The goal was twofold: Expand Arrow sales within the higher-value product areas of drinkware, hydration, kids and home food preparation, serving and storage; and build name recognition through retail chains like Walmart, Target, Meijer and Rite Aid.
Arrow promoted its U.S.-made products on social media, including a 2019 Facebook post supporting a campaign to petition bars to replace paper straws with plastic cups that have built-in straws. The company added a link to its own sip-a-cup product.
In 2020, during pandemic lockdowns, shoppers splurged on products like the ones Arrow manufactures to better organize their cupboards and prepare more meals in their own kitchens.
Arrow filled stores with reusable containers and specialty items such as "sip-a-bowls" — bowls with built-in straws for slurping out the last bit of cereal.
However, in 2022, CEOs of large retailers, such as Target and Lowe's, warned of sales declines due to inflation and a return to pre-lockdown routines. Markdowns to reduce inventory also cut into profits and Target even cancelled some orders as it worked through excess stock.
Public information about Arrow's pending closure doesn't offer any reason prompting the decision and Labek said she couldn't comment any further.
"We were doing distribution in Durant and now we'll be doing manufacturing and distribution," Labek said in a phone interview. "All the workers who wish to move can. A couple will. That's all I can tell you right now."
The state of Illinois was notified Dec. 23 about the pending layoffs, which start March 21.
About 60 of the 96 employees belong to the Chicago-based Teamsters Local 743 Building Corp., according to union representative Jose Silva. He said an expired lease led to the relocation plan and the bargaining unit will begin negotiating a severance package next week.
Before it was called Arrow Home Products Co., the company went by Arrow Plastic Manufacturing Co.