Swing-N-Slide’s Janesville manufacturing facility is closing because its parent company is moving all its play equipment production to a new facility in Georgia.
According to a release from Backyard Products, the parent of Swing-N-Slide, the company is consolidating all its backyard play structure manufacturing and distribution to a new, 220,000-square-foot facility in Canton, Georgia. Backyard Products is offering employees at Swing-N-Slide’s longtime Janesville operations the chance to relocate, the company said.
Swing-N-Slide is one of three consumer play set manufacturers owned by Backyard Products. The other two companies, PlayNation and Gorilla, are based in Canton, Georgia.
Backyard Products’ CEO Thomas van der Meulen said the move of Swing-N-Slide’s operations to Georgia is “to more efficiently service our customers and improve our long-term competitiveness in the marketplace.”
Swing-N-Slide’s closure in Janesville, as reported by The Gazette earlier, ends a more than 30-year run for the build-it-yourself wooden play set manufacturer that started here in 1986 as an offshoot of a local welding shop.
Swing-N-Slide has changed hands a few times since it first opened—most recently in 2013, when Backyard Products, which makes sheds in addition to backyard play equipment, bought the company.
All the Janesville workers have been offered jobs at the company’s manufacturing operations in Monroe, Michigan, and at its Georgia location.
Van der Meulen said “at least a third” of the 23 Swing-N-Slide employees slated to be laid off late this year when the Janesville facility closes are relocating to work at other Backyard Products facilities.
Swing-N-Slide, PlayNation and Gorilla brands remain a “core to our leadership position in the play industry,” van der Meulen said, and the companies remain central to Backyard Products growth plans.
In 2012, van der Meulen trumpeted the purchase of Swing-N-Slide, calling it a powerful brand that would strengthen Backyard Products’ stature in the backyard play set market.
At the time, van der Meulen said his company intended to continue manufacturing its wooden play structures and play forts in the U.S., even though other manufacturers in the same market were outsourcing labor to China.