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PlayPower moves molding department

FARMINGTON — PlayPower-Little Tikes is moving their Rotational Molding Department to Monett, Missouri to utilize one facility, not two.

Playpower-Little Tikes employs about 1,000 people world wide and will employ about 200 at the PlayPower Rotomold Center of Excellence. A study to evaluate the opportunity to leverage and combine was completed on the Rotational Molding and a decision to combine the two facilities was made.

“The transition will take place over the next few months and will impact some employees. We are working with some and offering a chance to move to Monett, and some displaced will be helped,” said Nevin Caldwell, executive vice president of PlayPower and president of Little Tikes.

He also said, “Employees are welcome to apply for other potential job openings in the company and may be able to stay within the company.”

Meetings were held this week to discuss transition plans  and the layoff of the workers. The transitions will take place over the next few months and are expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2009.

More than 50 employees will be affected by the transition and consolidation of plants. However, those who are not able to move will be offered assistance to find other employment.

“The company will offer those displaced help finding jobs, however, sometimes this is the boost that some need to go back to school or start their own business,” said Caldwell.

Little Tikes began as Iron Mountain Forge in 1979 and in 1990 added the first plastic rotational molding machine. The machine made it possible to manufacture one-piece spiral slides.

Rubbermaid acquired Iron Mountain Forge in 1993. Philosophies and mission statements for both companies were very similar. In 1995 Little Tikes Commercial acquired Omni, an indoor play manufacturer to help with the indoor play market.

A Canadian Company Paris Equipment Manufacturing Limited was also acquired to serve the European and Canadian Markets and Ausplay, an Australian Market that serves the Pacific and Asian Markets.

In 1996, the Australian, Canadian, and California facilities were moved to Farmington. A fire destroyed the rotational molding area and severely damaged the rest of the manufacturing facility. Operations resumed in 1999 at the Farmington plant.

In July of 2004 Little Tikes was purchased by PlayPower, a manufacturer of indoor and outdoor play equipment. Brands also owned by PlayPower are Miracle Recreation Equipment Company, Hags, Soft Play, EZ Dock and Miracle Water Slides.

Services currently offered in Farmington are staying in Farmington, such as customer service, manufacturing, sales and marketing as well as others. There will be no disruption to services and business at all. 

All of PlayPowers U.S. based rotational molding processes will be manufactured at the Center of Excellence in Monett.

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