Country Home Products, Inc. informed employees that dozens will soon be looking for another job. The Vermont-based maker of outdoor power tools told 67 employees that their jobs would be eliminated permanently by the end of the year, completing the closure of the Winooski assembly plant.
“We’re committed to growing things locally here in Vermont,” said Matt Bieber, president of Country Home Products. “We are consolidating our manufacturing operations to an existing facility in Jefferson, Wisconsin.”
“Employees who are affected will be eligible to apply for positions elsewhere in the company and severance compensation is being offered to ease their transition,” he later added.
Privately held Country Home Products started in Vermont in the 1950s, later being known as Country Way. In 1985, Country Way eventually evolved into Country Home Products as a parent company to two separate brands: DR for large property power equipment and Neuton for smaller properties. In August 2016, Country Home Products was acquired by Generac Power Systems, Inc. (NYSE:GNRC).
Vermont Governor Phil Scott said that the Department of Labor is working to provide “Rapid Response” services to laid off employees to help with reemployment and possible training opportunities.
“It is always disappointing and concerning when Vermonters lose jobs and Vermont sees the shuttering of any business or plant,” Scott noted in a statement. “We are encouraged Country Home Products will keep its Vergennes and Charlotte facilities open.” (Source: Burlington Free Press, June 9, 2017, op cit.)
Asked if the layoffs were symptomatic of a changing marketplace, Bieber responded by saying, “No, I don’t think it is a symbol of a changing marketplace. I think for us it is a way for us to consolidate and get back to the core of what we do. And for us to continue to grow. We’ve been on a growth trajectory for the last five years and hope to continue that.”
In April, Generac announced that revenue for the first quarter, ended March 31, 2017, advanced 15.8% to $331.8 million from $286.5 million in the same prior-year period. First-quarter net income was up 25.5% year-over-year at $12.8 million, or $0.21 per share. Meanwhile, adjusted net income was $25.8 million, or $0.41 per share, as compared to $30.9 million, or $0.46 per share, in the first quarter of 2016.
“Country Home Products to lay off 67 in Winooski,” Burlington Free Press, June 9, 2017.
“Layoffs at Vermont-based outdoor power tool company,” WCAX-TV, June 8, 2017.
“Generac Acquires Country Home Products,” Generac Power Systems, Inc., August 3, 2015.