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Homecrest manufacturing under new ownership

Homecrest Outdoor Living began manufacturing this month in a Wadena, Minn., plant Homecrest had closed last October after its efforts to refinance or find a buyer failed.

Serving as president of the new company is Mike Bullinger, a key investor and CPA who owns and operates manufacturing and distribution companies in the home improvement industry. Bullinger works with Western Products, a home exterior improvement company, and has a track record in turning around struggling companies.

Don Bottemiller, former Homecrest president, is taking an active role as an investor in the new company. Other experienced workers are returning to production, IT and credit roles within the new company.

Homecrest Outdoor Living is focusing on “a return to the basics that made Homecrest an industry leader: great quality, great value and outstanding customer service,” said General Manager Tim DeJong, formerly of Polaris Industries who brings experience in running manufacturing organizations.

Tom LaBounty, head of sales and marketing for Homecrest Outdoor Living, said the new company will succeed when it allows the sales forces on retail floors to be successful. “We need to continue the tradition of innovative products – like Color My Sling,” LaBounty said. “Homecrest placed the first order for Sunbrella fabric years ago; now we've come up with a way to sling it. That's the kind of innovation sales people can get excited about.”

LaBounty and Janet Eckman, customer service manager, said they were overwhelmed by the positive retail response to a January announcement about the new company. “Janet is assembling her team so they can begin entering orders that are already coming in,” LaBounty said. “We are excited to be able to produce quality product and get back in front of the dealers and salespeople. We need to prove ourselves and are up for the challenge.”

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