Fuller Industries LLC officially took possession of the former Fuller Brush Company’s manufacturing and distribution facility in Great Bend on Saturday morning Dec. 1, as part of a bankruptcy settlement bid to purchase all personal property, real estate and industrial business segments, which includes the custom brush and commercial janitorial supply businesses. This overall effort was made possible with the commitment and cooperation of numerous local investors who rallied local resources to purchase this company and retain the 200 plus jobs in our community.
This local effort was led by Rick Ball. “Phase one and two of the start-up of this totally new company, called Fuller Industries, LLC, is now officially completed,” Ball said. “The Great Bend community and the surrounding area once again have a major employer, sufficiently capitalized and headed for a bright future. In December, a Board of Directors will be put in place to provide the direction and external resources needed to return this business to its previous status when it employed over 600 people at this location. In addition, Fuller Industries is working with the City of Great Bend on financial incentives to improve the operating outlook.”
“In the first 30 days, Fuller Industries will be focused on rebuilding customer and supplier relationships damaged by the bankruptcy stigma, identify infrastructure repairs neglected by the lack of funds in recent years, and reviewing compensation levels, employee benefit plans and manpower needs,” said Norbert Schneider, another of the local organizers. “It will require a motivated workforce to grow Fuller Industries because all of these areas are crucial to our short and long term success. All of the challenges at this facility did not happen overnight nor will they be solved immediately. However, the new owners and the employees of Fuller Industries are a dedicated and determined group of individuals who have come too far not to be successful.”
Fuller Industries also announced it reached a long-term manufacturing and distribution agreement with Victory Park Capital, a Chicago based investment firm. Under the terms of the new alliance, Fuller Industries will provide manufacturing, customer service, order fulfillment and limited product development services for VPC marketed exclusively under the Fuller Brush Company brand.
This alliance will strengthen the Fuller Brush consumer sales and marketing activities by forming a new dedicated group of retail marketing professionals located in California, officials said. Their objective will be to re-establish the brand recognition of the Fuller Brush name to a younger generation of consumers and then leverage that name recognition into sales growth via an expanded product line of superior quality home care products.
“We are very excited to support this new endeavor,” said Brady Gros, president and CEO of Fuller Industries. “It brings new energy, new ideas and outside capital to a business segment hit hard by the sluggish economy over the past five years.”
All Great Bend personnel, currently connected with the consumer business segment, will continue to work on projects defined by VPC, but became the employees of Fuller Industries as of Dec. 1, which was a condition of the alliance requested by Fuller Industries.
Fuller Industries will continue to manufacture a complete line of broom, brushes, mops, cleaning chemicals and other personal care products. In addition, it plans to aggressively pursue selling the excess manufacturing capacity and capabilities of this incredibly diverse facility to produce private labeled products for other regional and national companies with established distribution already in place. Fuller Industries plans to take advantage of the “Made in America” movement growing in popularity once again in this country.
Gros said the goal now is to grow markets and expand the company’s client/customer base.