VAX to Build $3.2M Assembly, Facility, HQ in Solon, Ohio
SOLON, Ohio–VAX Appliances Ltd., a British maker of vacuum cleaners, said it will break ground this week on a $3.2 million headquarters and assembly facility in Solon, Ohio, that should represent a new opportunity for local vendors of plastic injection moldings, small mechanical parts and other components.
The Solon facility, to be completed by spring, is expected to employ 160 within two years.
In August, VAX opened a small office in Solon and introduced its product, which can be used as a dry and wet vaccuum cleaner and as a water extractor, in Sears, Roebuck & Co. stores in Indianapolis. That city has been the test site for Sears’ Brand Central concept, under which Sears will offer brand-name appliances other than its Kenmore brand, in a designated area in all of its stores. That effort, intended to reverse Sears’ sluggish growth and dwindling market share, likely will provide opportunities for other appliance makers, too.
A VAX spokesman said the combination vacuum cleaner is about to be introduced in four Sears stores in Louisville and will be available in a total of 20 Sears stores by the end of the year and in 400 by the end of 1989.
Currently, she said, Ametek Inc.’s Lamb Electric division in Akron, Ohio, makes the motors for the cleaners and ships them to Droitwich, Worcestershire, England, where they are assembled for shipment back to this country. Once the 100,000-square-foot facility in Solon is finished, Lamb Electric will supply motors directly to that facility.
“The cleaner’s other parts also will be outsourced within the area. As you know, there are several plastic injection molding firms in the Akron region. We will be selecting vendors after the first of the year,” the spokesman said.
Because the VAX product is a compact canister product, the firm views all U.S. makers of dry vacuum cleaners as competitors, the spokesman said. She said the product has been very successful in Australia, so it seemed logical to next introduce it in the United States.