Norwood closing Janesville plant
Employees of Norwood Promotional Products, 1309 Plainfield Ave., learned of the decision Wednesday to move local operations to a facility in Red Wing, Minn.
Norwood has a long history in Janesville as a consolidation of several other companies such as Jaffa, Crystal Etch and The Janesville Group. It is a leading supplier of imprinted promotional products that are now branded as Jaffa.
The company was founded in 1989 and has operations in the U.S., Canada and China. Norwood markets more than 5,000 promotional products.
BIC USA bought the company in 2009, shortly after the Indianapolis-based Norwood filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Earlier this year, Norwood announced the consolidation of some manufacturing operations and the relocation of others, primarily in Texas and Indiana.
Quenten Wentworth, vice president and general manager of Norwood & BIC Graphic North America, said an analysis showed moving the Janesville operation to Red Wing would improve customer experience and streamline operational capabilities.
"Jaffa is a valued brand for Norwood with a long history of superior product quality and service," Wentworth said. "The awards and recognition category will still be an important part of our 2011 product selection and beyond."
A Janesville employee told the Gazette that Wednesday's meeting was emotional.
"There were people crying their eyes out and others that were really pissed off," the employee said. "A lot of really good people work there, people who have been there a long time, and we make good wages."
Wentworth said dislocated Janesville workers will be considered for open positions at other Norwood and BIC Graphic facilities. Job search support and severance will be offered to those not remaining with the company.
"Our goal continues to be the most cost efficient and customer focused organization in the industry," said Nicolas Paillot, another BIC executive. "The decision to close the Janesville site has not been easy, and it is not a reflection on the dedication or performance of our employees.
"We are very grateful for their many years of service."