Homecrest restarts under new owners
By Cinde W. Ingram -- Casual Living, 11/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
A Minnesota-based investor group bought the key assets of Homecrest Industries, a 50-year-old manufacturer of furniture for outdoor living. Purchase price was not disclosed.
The private investor group, comprised of successful business people from the Twin Cities area, formed a new company named HC Holdings, LLC (dba Homecrest) to resume operations of Homecrest Industries.
In mid-October, HC Holdings announced it would hire a number of former Homecrest employees and immediately restart operations in Wadena, Minn. Homecrest had been on extended layoff since the beginning of August, which is generally a seasonally slow period for the company.
The manufacturer operated with a limited staff during the interim and continued to take orders, which were being reconfirmed with its dealers in the days after the sale finalized. "We'll deal with time-sensitive orders; we'll certainly put a priority on those," Homecrest President John Sundet said. " And there are orders individuals have placed through their dealers we'll have to catch up on.
"With this new beginning, we are eager to transform the Homecrest brand into a market leader that competitively serves its customers, dealers, specifiers, employees and the community," Sundet said. "We will leverage the experience and heritage of the past while making the necessary changes to restore a successful and profitable operation."
Christine Meidinger said Homecrest's customer service staff has been online and talking with dealers. "As we knew this was coming to a close, our dealers were very happy," she said. "We still appreciate their continued support and patience. Most of the dealers have the attitude that 'We love Homecrest, we love working for you, we just can't wait until you're back up and running.'"
Homecrest sent its news release to dealers and reps, and planned to follow up with personal contact. "We realize we've got to gain some ground back here," Sundet said. "We were gratified with the reception of our dealers. We expect there's a fair amount of orders that are either being made or have been written that we haven't seen yet. So we would expect to see a fair amount of orders coming in within the next couple of weeks."
Homecrest had expected to reach an agreement to sell in early September as part of its preparation for the retirement of Don Bottemiller, Homecrest principal owner. "We'd love to have Don have a continuing role to advise HC Holdings in such areas as product development," Sundet said.
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