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New Shop Vac owner revealed

Acquisition ‘great news’ for employees, economy

The popular Shop Vac brand of vacuums has been purchased by GreatStar Tools USA, giving new life to the global manufacturer headquartered in Williamsport.

GreatStar announced Monday it will take ownership of Shop Vac assets, re-open the Williamsport plant and rehire employees who lost their jobs when the factory let go most of its 430-plus work force in mid-September after a failed sale of the company by its private owners, the Miller family now living on the West Coast.

GreatStar’s bid to buy Shop Vac was settled on Christmas Eve but the identity of the buyer had not been released until Monday.

GreatStar is part of Hangzhou GreatStar Industrial Co. Ltd., a hand tool manufacturer in Asia, specializing in designing and manufacturing products for DIY, professional and industrial markets globally.

Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jason Fink welcomed the announcement as “great news for the area.”

“The chamber is very excited to see GreatStar Tools USA step in and acquire the Shop Vac assets. It’s great to see that they will be adding to their core competencies through this purchase with injection molding, tool and die making, and electrical, industrial and polymer engineering capabilities,” he said.

“This enhances the value of those people here in the market performing the work at Shop Vac because it can’t be replicated elsewhere in their holdings. Given what we have in our backyard with Penn College, there is the opportunity to see further production growth in the coming years.”

Fink said he looks forward to working with GreatStar in achieving the success the company envisions with the Shop Vac brand.

Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter said he was also thrilled to learn the news of the Shop Vac acquisition.

“This is tremendous news for the employees, the workforce and our community as a whole,” Slaughter said. “We look forward to working with the new ownership in the years ahead.”

Gary DuBoff, group president of GreatStar Tools USA, said Shop Vac represents an important addition to the company’s global product portfolio.

Shop Vac’s strong market position in the canister vacuum business, combined with GreatStar’s manufacturing expertise, innovation pipeline, investment capabilities and global reach, “will deliver more products, more innovation and more value to customers worldwide,” he said.

“We are thrilled to add another iconic American brand to GreatStar’s portfolio of brands — alongside Arrow Fastener, Pony, Jorgensen, Goldblatt and Prime-Line Products “ particularly one that gives us the opportunity to bring manufacturing and jobs back to the U.S.,” he added.

“Shop Vac products are ‘must-have’ items for many retailers and consumers in North America and around the world, and we look forward to restoring this brand’s loyal following and distribution.”

“After the acquisition, GreatStar plans to reestablish and expand Shop Vac’s industry leadership built on best-in-class innovation, features, value and manufacturing ability, utilizing a mix of both Asian and US-based manufacturing. The company will retain manufacturing in itsWilliamsport, Pa., factory, and will also prioritize restoring Shop Vac’s distribution in the U.S, including big-box retailers, major home centers and hardware stores,” the firm said in a prepared release.

“Shop Vac is synonymous with the wet/dry vacuum category. With manufacturing in the U.S., China and Vietnam and worldwide distribution, Shop Vac was a pioneer in the heavy-duty vacuum system category, serving workshops, garages, factories and other demanding applications. Before closing its doors in September, Shop Vac provided customers with reliable and trusted products for more than 55 years.”

Shop Vac also offers accessories ranging from wet and dry filters, replacement vacuum parts and sawdust collection systems.

Lycoming County Commissioner Scott Metzger said the acquisition of Shop Vac by GreatStar is a great economic boost for the area.

“This is wonderful news as Shop Vac has been a leading employer in our area for generations,” he said. “The news that their intention is to continue operations locally is a major boost to our spirits and economy during these difficult times. We encourage any previous employees who have not found other employment to apply. We are sure their expertise and experience would be valuable to the new owners.”

Company officials offered no timeline regarding the reopening of the plant, but told Fink that getting employees back to work is key to the acquisition.

Fink said Shop Vac’s array of canister vacuum products is a great complement to GreatStar’s line and greatly expands the new owner’s product offerings.

Approximately 437 employees worked at Shop Vac’s world headquarters plant in the Reach Road Industrial Park when the former owners released most of them, triggering protests outside the plant. The company once employed 1,700 people globally.

According to Dun & Bradstreet, Hangzhou Greatstar Industrial Co. is located in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, Hangzhou Greatstar Industrial Co., Ltd. has 6,435 total employees across all of its locations and generated $957.41 million in 2019 sales (USD). There are 51 companies in the Hangzhou Greatstar Industrial Co., Ltd. corporate family.

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