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New owners rehire Shop Vac employees

WILLIAMSPORT — The decision by Shop Vac to close its Williamsport plant last year left local officials glum at the prospect of losing hundred of jobs from the local economy.

The eventual purchase of the plant by GreatStar Tools USA brought hope, but the situation has become even brighter with the news that at least 100 employees are now being rehired to work there.

“This month, they are looking to hire back 55 people,” Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce President Jason Fink said. “They are anticipating 50 next month.”

The company seems to be making good on its promise when it took ownership of Shop Vac assets to rehire employees who lost their jobs when the factory let go most of its 430-plus work force in the fall.

“It is definitely a positive sign seeing how quickly they are already bringing back employees, especially in the numbers they are bringing them back,” Fink said.

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.

At the time of the acquisition, GreatStar officials announced plans to reestablish and expand Shop Vac’s industry leadership built on “best-in-class innovation, features, value and manufacturing ability,” with the company retaining manufacturing in Williamsport.

Fink noted that about 150 people were still working at the Shop Vac plant when GreatStar officially signed off on the purchase.

The employees being rehired, Fink noted, are expected to be rewarded with raises.

“They (GreatStar) became aware they had not received a pay increase in the previous two years,” he said.

Lycoming County Commissioner Scott Metzger said GreatStar officials seem intent in providing a great company for the community.

“The main thing is a competitor could have bought it and closed it up for good,” he said. “We are excited that it is reopened. We are excited that the company is bringing back a lot of the same workers.”

He added, “Their success is our success.”

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