By Erin Mansfield
Less than two years after being acquired by a publicly traded company, Country Home Products announced Friday it would lay off more than 60 people in the next eight months.
The company, which is based in Vergennes, has been a subsidiary of Wisconsin-based Generac Power Systems, Inc., since 2015. Generac is publicly traded as GNRC on the New York Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of $2.28 billion.
Country Home Products announced it would close its manufacturing plant in Winooski effective Dec. 31, according to Gov. Phil Scott’s office. The more than 60 pink slips would be issued by the end of February.
“It is always disappointing and concerning when Vermonters lose jobs and Vermont sees the shuttering of any business or plant,” Scott said in a statement. “We are encouraged Country Home Products will keep its Vergennes and Charlotte facilities open, and staff at those locations have not been impacted.”
“This news is another reminder of our critical need to focus on the growing the economy and making Vermont more affordable so our businesses can thrive and we can offer greater opportunity for all Vermonters,” Scott said.
The Department of Labor has mobilized its rapid response services, according to Scott. Those services help connect displaced workers directly with federally funded reemployment services and job training. The Agency of Commerce and Community Development will help the Department of Labor identify employers in need of workers, Scott said.
Country Home Products started 1985 and is known for making devices such as gardening tools, lawn mowers, log splitters and machine chippers. The company owns brands such as DR Power and Neuton.
Country Home Products was once considered a “troubled company,” but started growing again in 2012, when then-Gov. Peter Shumlin and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy announced that the company would receive EB-5 funding.
Under the EB-5 program, foreign nationals invest $500,000 in an at-risk development in exchange for a provisional green card. The development must create 10 jobs for each investment.
Vermont EB-5 Regional Center officials said in 2015 that Country Home Products created 200 jobs and investors received green cards.