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Home Care back in business in La Crosse

SoVaNow.com / June 05, 2013
Mecklenburg County received welcome news on the jobs front this week as the new owner of Home Care Industries announced it will reopen the shuttered La Crosse manufacturing plant and restore many of the 120 jobs that were lost there when the company abruptly halted operations at the start of 2013.

The La Crosse plant will re-emerge as an affiliate of ZHF (USA), Inc., an Ohio-based floor care and filtration industry supplier.

ZHF acquired the U.S.-based assets of the former Home Care Industries, Inc. when Home Care Industries shut down in Virginia and North Carolina at the beginning of the year. The company’s exodus cost nearly 120 jobs at the La Crosse plant, located at the Airport Industrial Park.

General Manager Christine Watson said, “Effective with the asset acquisition, ZHF has renamed the company Home Care Products LLC (“Home Care”). Included in the acquisition were two large plants, a 160,000 square foot plant in La Crosse and a second 135,000 square foot facility in Oxford, North Carolina. The new Home Care Products intends to resume operations of the manufacturing and distribution in both locations.”

“This is good news for Mecklenburg County, especially for jobs,” said Angie Kellett, Director of Economic Development for Mecklenburg County. Kellett said she was particularly pleased by the company’s decision to try to rehire former employees of Home Care Industries as the plant resumes manufacturing operations locally.

“It is our goal to once again occupy the industry’s leadership position,” said Watson. She added that the company, which manufactures and sells replacement floor care accessories, such as disposable vacuum cleaner bags, HEPA filters, belts, air freshening and odor absorption products and cleaning solutions, will aim to grow “slowly and thoughtfully.”

Like its predecessor, the new Home Care will supply original equipment manufacturers (OEM) products and will market and distribute customer-branded and private label brands. Under new ownership, Home Care will be able to take advantage of the largest North American manufacturing platform as well as ZHF’s Asian and other global supply relationships, the company said.

According to ZHF co-owner Mark Howard, “We will be able to offer our customers the best price-value combinations, the highest quality, and the most consistent supply availability. This acquisition and the opportunity it creates will likely never be duplicated in the industry and our partners will derive tremendous long-term benefit from it.”

Home Care has already begun rehiring previously-employed key staff members, who are intimately familiar with its products, manufacturing, and customers, the company said.

Terms of the asset purchase between ZHF and Home Care Industries were not disclosed.

Originally founded in 1959, Home Care Industries, Inc. had been the premier supplier of replacement floor care accessories and filtration products used in a wide variety of vacuum cleaners and other floor cleaning devices. It was previously headquartered in Clifton, New Jersey, but in 2011, the company moved most of its manufacturing operations as well as management to La Crosse, close to its other facility in Oxford, N.C. On January 2 the company shuttered the Golden Eagle Drive plant after giving employees in La Crosse one day’s notice of the intent to shut the facility.

Watson said, “We know we have a lot of work to do to rebuild both the community’s and industry’s trust in us, but these owners are dedicated and willing to put in the necessary work to make us succeed. Over time, Home Care plans to achieve the same or higher staffing levels than those that existed when the prior company shut down.”

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