Sanford closing cuts 140 jobs

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009
— Sanford Business-to-Business has notified the state it will start closing its Janesville operations in January in a move that will ultimately put 140 people out of work.

Sanford, which engraves and imprints a variety of writing instruments used for marketing, awards programs and gifts, last summer announced its intention to move production to Mexico and administration to Oak Brook, Ill., in early 2010.

In a letter required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, Sanford said it will start to shutdown its facilities on Foster Avenue and Barberry Drive on Friday, Jan. 8. Complete closure is expected by March 31, although a few workers are expected to remain past that date.

The notification covers 140 workers, 71 of whom are either represented by the United Steelworkers Local 1533 or International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1266.

The Sanford operation is one of the last tangible remnants of The Parker Pen Co. founded in Janesville in 1892.

In 1986, Parker’s investors and managers in the United Kingdom acquired Parker’s writing instrument group to create Parker Pen Holdings Ltd. Gillette bought that company in 1993.

Six years later, Gillette announced that it would close its Arrow Park plant in Janesville and put nearly 300 people out of work. Gillette left intact a small part of its Janesville operation—the special markets division—and a repair operation.

In 2001, Newell Rubbermaid bought the Janesville operation and consolidated it into its Sanford Business-to-Business division.

In August, a company spokeswoman said the decision to close the Janesville plants was complicated and difficult.

“A careful and thorough review of our office products … indicated a strong need to improve efficiencies in order to remain competitive in a challenging economy,” said Connie Bryant, public relations manager for Newell Rubbermaid, Sanford’s parent company.

“We have several manufacturing facilities that are underutilized. Both our consumer and business-to-business business, which the Janesville plant supports, have fallen, and we have to take the necessary steps to consolidate.”

Later this week, hundreds of former Parker Pen workers and Sanford employees will gather for a reunion dinner at the Pontiac Convention Center. Roger Axtell, a former Parker executive, is organizing the event.

Last updated: 11:58 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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