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Some DR jobs to be affected by Country Home Products move; store to stay in Vergennes

VERGENNES — The recently confirmed mid-2019 move of DR Power property maintenance equipment manufacturer Country Home Products (CHP) from its Vergennes headquarters to South Burlington will not include the DR store at 5 North Main Street, according to store manager Jeremy Brooks.
The DR store moved out of CHP’s Meigs Road headquarters five years ago and has done well both selling and servicing DR, Husqvarna and Generac products, according to Brooks.
“We’re not going anywhere anytime soon,” Brooks said, adding, “Service is huge here.”
Also, a spokesperson from Generac Power Systems Inc., CHP’s parent company, emailed the Independent on Thursday to clarify the status of jobs at CHP’s Meigs Road plant and the company’s plans.
Generac Marketing Communications/PR Manager Art Aiello wrote that about two-dozen jobs are at stake as Generac makes plans to consolidate operations in its Waukesha, Wisc., headquarters and at a new, as yet undisclosed, site in South Burlington. Aiello said in an earlier email that the move to South Burlington is targeted for the second quarter of 2019.
Aiello said he had responded in an email to a question posed earlier last week about jobs, and apologized for it not reaching the Independent.
“It appears there was some problem with my email, and it never got to you,” Aiello wrote.
In the missing email Aiello wrote: “DR Power Equipment does not plan to make any changes to its workforce as a result of the move to South Burlington. However, DR Power is consolidating repair shop and shipping operations in Wisconsin with parent company Generac Power Systems, which will improve efficiency in those operations. About 26 DR Power employees will be affected, many of whom are being offered other roles within the company. Those leaving the company will be given severance packages.”
Addison County Development Corp. executive director Fred Kenney, who worked with Generac on Addison County alternatives, said early last week Generac had informed him it would offer many workers the chance to commute to South Burlington and others the chance to transfer to Wisconsin.
Generac acquired CHP about three years ago. CHP first leased space in the 88,000-square-foot Meigs Road building in the late 1990s. It now uses about 66,000 square feet mostly for office space, while manufacturing some of its DR Power landscaping and Neuton lawn mowing products in Winooski. It’s not clear at this point if that facility will be affected.
Overall, according to Aiello, CHP will be adding jobs. Kenney said Generac made the decision to move to Chittenden County in part due to access to a larger workforce.

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