Lennox announces local expansion
Lennox International Inc. has announced plans to close its hearth products plant in Lynwood, Calif., and consolidate its fireplace manufacturing operations in its Union City plant.
“It is expected to add between 100 and 150 new jobs there over the next 12 months,” said Edward Brickell, Lennox spokesman in Dallas.
Jim Rippy, chairman of Obion County Joint Economic Development Council, said he and others are excited about it.
“It’s bringing new jobs to Obion County,” Rippy said. “We are glad they selected us. We want to keep the jobs we’ve got here and bring in new ones.”
Jim Cooper, executive director of Obion County Joint Economic Development Council, applauds the news.
“Any time you put that kind of payroll on the street, that kind of investment in a community, good things happen. That’s what this is all about,” Cooper said. “The more of that we get, the more we diversify the investment base and the job base, the stronger the local economy is going to be.”
Lennox Hearth Products manufactures and markets Lennox, Superior and Security brand factory-built fireplaces, stoves and other hearth products and accessories for residential new construction and remodeling markets.
The consolidation will be a phased process and is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter 2008 (June 30, 2008), with a projected cost of about $5 million. The company expects the consolidation to lead to annual cost reductions of over $2 million beginning in April 2008.
“While leading to difficult decisions involving some of our employees, the consolidation of our fireplace manufacturing and distribution operations in Union City is necessary for us to be more competitive,” said Lennox chief executive officer Todd Bluedorn.
“The current downturn in the residential new construction market, combined with increasing competition and the need to control costs, make it imperative for us to increase efficiencies in our operations.”
Wendy Howells, Lenox Hearth Products vice president and general manager, said that given the value years of service by Lennox employees at the Lynwood plant, “this was not an easy decision.”
“We do, however, have a responsibility to address market realities to ensure the long-term health of our company and our ability to keep our customers competitive in the market place,” Howells said. “Our top priority during the transition is to minimize any disruption in service and quality to our customers.
“Fortunately, our Union City facility has a long-standing history of building quality products and being customer responsive.”
Published in The Messenger on 10.3.07