Industrial Products Manufacturer Buys N.C. Factory to Open New Operation

A 104-year-old southeast Iowa company has purchased a mothballed factory in North Carolina and plans to eventually employ 250 workers.

Harper Brush Works Inc. of Fairfield, a manufacturer of brooms, brushes and industrial cleaning products, acquired the former Newell-Rubbermaid plant in Greenville, N.C. The 377,000-square-foot building and 50-acre site was purchased by PGV Properties LLC of Fairfield to become Harper's third manufacturing and distribution center.

The new plant includes injection molding equipment that will allow Harper Brush Works to produce a new line of plastic products and parts, such as dust pans, mop buckets and plastic heads, for its push brooms and brushes. Newell Rubbermaid had manufactured cleaning equipment at the factory until it closed last spring, idling 300 workers.

Barry Harper, president of Harper Brush Works, said his company will hire 40 to 50 employees the first year and as many as 250 employees within three to five years.

Harper Brush Works employs 100 at its plant and headquarters in Fairfield and 50 workers at a plant in Stockton, Calif. The privately owned company manufactures and markets more than 1,000 products, ranging from industrial push brooms to mops, floor squeegees, automotive brushes and animal care products.