Country Home Products to close Winooski plant
VERGENNES — Vergennes outdoor power equipment firm Country Home Products and its parent company, Generac Holdings Inc. of Wisconsin, have decided to close CHP’s Winooski manufacturing plant, according to a statement released on Friday morning by Gov. Phil Scott.
Repeated efforts on Friday to reach CHP or Generac officials for comment were unsuccessful. CHP is the second-largest private employer in Vergennes, trailing only United Technologies Corp. on Panton Road.
Scott’s statement read that CHP “has notified the state it will close its facility in Winooski by Dec. 31, 2017,” and Scott added that the move means “more than 60 layoffs planned by February 2018.”
However, Scott said, “We are encouraged Country Home Products will keep its Vergennes and Charlotte facilities open, and staff at those locations have not been impacted.”
The statement from the governor’s office did not address where CHP might manufacture its DR and Neuton products in the future, although Generac also builds and markets many power products, including generators, light towers, pumps and power washers for both the residential and commercial markets.
Generac, a publicly traded firm, bought CHP in August 2015, a deal that left CHP’s management team in place. At that time, CHP employed 200 between its Winooski plant, its Charlotte call center and its Vergennes headquarters on Meigs Road, which includes offices, a retail outlet and shipping and warehouse space.
In 2009, CHP raised $12 million through the federal EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The company qualified for the program through the “troubled business” provision after the 2008 recession struck.
That program offers green cards to foreign residents who invest between $500,000 and $1 million in American firms or developments. Typically, jobs must be created, but in CHP’s case the company had to, through the troubled business provision, preserve its 130 existing jobs through investment in product development and market expansion.
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