Apex Tool Group’s factory in Gastonia, North Carolina is set to close in June following a gradual slowdown. It is said that the production work done at this plant, which includes sockets and socket sets for Craftsman and other brands, will move to Apex Tool Group factories in Texas and China.
Final arrangements for Bain Capital’s purchase of the Apex Tool Group, previously a joint effort by Danaher and Cooper Tools, will take place in early 2013. Apex is also looking for more than $1B in loans to back the buyout (source: Bloomberg).
220 people will lose their jobs when the factory closes. It has been reported that Apex will be working to help place employees at other internal and external positions.
Sources: Gaston Gazette, Garage Journal
220 people? Thanks a great deal Bain Capital, you’ve done a GREAT job running Apex so far. Now the jobs are being sent to China as well and I bet only a very small portion will be sent to Texas.
This is why I care about country of origin, because now 220 people will be kicked out of their jobs just so Bain Capital can make more money.
Supposedly some workers might be able to transfer to Apex’s Raleigh NC location, but realistically this probably means that 220 people have up to 5 months to find employment elsewhere.
Obviously Bain Capital is out to maximize their profits from in whatever way they can. Apex Tool Group makes Gearwrench sockets overseas, as well as Craftsman universal sockets, and these products are actually quite good. From a pure financial perspective, there’s not much reason for overlapping production capabilities.
There is also no telling whether this is a move by Bain Capital or Apex Tool Group leadership. In my opinion, this closure was bound to happen sooner or later. Apex Tool Group has been cutting manufacturing costs (and potentially reducing production redundancy) before Bain Capital entered the picture.
After Danaher and Cooper Tools joined forces we saw a gradual shift of Craftsman wrenches and ratchets production from USA to overseas factories. It was only a matter of time before socket production was fully outsourced as well.
That of course doesn’t make this news any less grim.
Don’t feel bad. They are doing the same thing in Springdale, Ark. Moving the equipment to China and even sending people over to teach them how to run it. I din’t vote for Obama, I voted against Romney and crew. We need to tax the profits from these moves.
Well, I guess I am just about done with Craftsman tools, and Sears as well.
I’ve haven’t been in a Sears for a couple of years now. They’re on a slow, downward spiral. If I do find any USA made Craftsman tools that I need it’s usually from Epsteins.
Same here, their website is constantly out of date, information is often times incorrect and now a majority of Craftsman products being outsourced among other issues essentially is incentive for me to be done with both Sears and Craftsman.
Not even sure if I want to support Craftsman Industrial anymore either.
Drill bits, screwdriver bits, drills and hand tools including ratchets, wrenches, vise grips, Robo Grips, pliers and now sockets all used to be USA made. Fair enough, some of those items haven’t been made in here in decades, but for a while, a majority of products made by Craftsman were USA made. Now most of their products are made overseas, mostly in the PRC these days.
Is Craftsman Industrial any different from the Sears Craftsman? Around 2004-2006 Danaher put out a Craftsman Industrial catalog, but the tools and their parts numbers appeared identical to the those in the Craftsman catalogs I got in the mail. Same pics too.
Even now, the Craftsman Industrial tools carried by Grainger and other industrial distributors don’t appear to be any different from what Sears (and KMart) stock.
Right on about sears.com – a horrible website to navigate.
When I asked I was told that they’re manufactured to higher specs.
I do have Craftsman industrial and standard raised panels wrenches around here somewhere and will do a comparison if I can ever dig them up.
The official word is also that the “industrial” line will continue to be manufactured in the USA.
Thank GOD Western Forge, S-K and Pratt-Reed are now all under the Ideal umbrella, a company that has shown an increased investment in America.
I knew I was done with Apex/Cooper when Crescent went production went to China. Just another Irwin story. Shame.
Just to preface, I neither work for Western Forge (or any of those listed companies) but not every item made by Western Forge is 100% American made and likewise, with Apex (their screwdriver bits) and Cooper Tools (Wiss and Xcelite) some of their products are USA made as well.
Simply going to Harry J Epstein’s and even a Sears will prove that for Western Forge. The current robo grips sold at Sears and Harry J Epstein are from Western Forge and they aren’t USA made anymore (haven’t been in decades I imagine).
As for Cooper Tools, fair enough, that I can only speak for two companies, but most Xcelite branded and Wiss branded tools are USA made. All Apex branded screwdriver bits made last year and I imagine this year, are still made in USA, Dayton Ohio I believe. Now as of last year, there was still one item left from Nicholson (a file brush) hat was still made in USA under the Cooper Tools label as well.
What I am getting at is that at least as of now, there is still some products made by Apex/Cooper Tools that are USA made and not every product made by WF is USA made as well.
Sooner or later the cost of doing business in China is going to get too expensive…
I know it sucks to see Sears outsource production. One important fact is each consumer has a choice to never buy a Craftsman tool again. We made Craftsman big and we can tear them down by not buying what they sell. Together we can make a difference!
Has anyone heard of S-K tools? This company prides themselves on manufacturing tools 100% made in the United States. S-K tools has forging facilities in Colorado and Illinois. S-K tools have a quality and reputation which will not compromise.
I moved from Craftsman to Wright for wrenches and to Wright or S-K for sockets and ratchets. Vaughan or Estwing for hammers and pry bars. Channellock still is #1for groove joint pliers. I work in an electrical related field so Klein fis it for screwdrivers and other pliers ( I also like Channellock for slip joints). Midwest for tin snips. My ViseGrips are older USA made. (I’m from Nebraska so Vise Grip REALLY pissed me off as they had a plant here). I agree that Harry J. Epstein is a great place: I’ve found lots of needed tools there whenever I get down to KC.
Hopefully, the companies that still take pride inmaking things here won’t keep diminishing. A long time ago, I told myself that when Vraftan wrenches were made in China, it was all over. Well, I guess now I’d say that when Channellock groove joints or Klein linesman’s aren’t made in USA anymore, we can hang it up.