Sunday, September 07, 2008

Lab Safety moves Highsmith operations to Janesville

The Capital Times reports on September 5 that Lab Safety Supply of Janesville, which acquired Highsmith in July, will close the Fort Atkinson plant this fall and eliminate 86 jobs, moving the remainder of approximately 200 positions to Janesville. Highsmith, founded in 1956, distributes supplies, furniture and equipment to all types of libraries and schools. Lab Safety officials say they intend to build upon Highsmith's solid brand position. The company has also been a generous sponsor of ALA and WLA programs and activities, including the WLA Foundation's Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries.


Anonymous said...

I've worked @ Higshmith since 1990, and stood 20' away from Duncan when he announced the sale to us employees. I saw tears running down his face. He said telling his father he sold the company is the hardest thing he has ever done. Highsmith has always been a family owned company, employees were truly family. Hugh's wife used to hand out paychecks every week. Gov't cutting budgets of schools & libraries, our core customers, made Highsmith & similar companies make less $ every year. The Capital Times newspaper article is inaccurate; Highsmith is not CLOSING, we now have a new owner. We are still selling the same products to the same customers @ the same prices. We're moving to the next town, not CLOSING. I've taken frantic calls from customers every day this week, panicking because of this article. Librarian websites & blogs are copying & posting the Capital Times article, people read the headline & think Highsmith has CLOSED. Our competitors are emailing the Capital Times article to their customers telling them Highsmith is out of business, I spend hours every day clearing up the misinformation. I have better things to do in my job than counter rumors & misinformation. Many employees decided not to take the jobs that were offered to them. Some are going back to school, some are starting their own specialty and small businesses, etc. I'm not upper mgmt, not middle mgmt. I have always & continue to respect Duncan & Hugh highly. Please do not think poorly of Duncan, Lab Safety, Grainger. They did not shut our doors, they kept us open.

Anonymous said...

Please note that the company is relocating as are about 2/3rds of the employees to the company. The brand and what is offered to the company is still intact and will be expanded.


Correction: Highsmith is relocating, not closing

The Capital Times — 9/16/2008 6:18 am

Highsmith, a distributor of school and library supplies headquartered in Fort Atkinson, is closing its facility and will move operations to the Lab Safety Supply facility in Janesville after Lab Safety Supply bought the 52-year-old firm in July.

A Sept. 5 Capital Times story reported the Highsmith company in Fort Atkinson was closing, putting 86 employees out of work. Company officials said Highsmith is not closing Nov. 1 but is relocating, and a majority of the 200 employees at the Fort Atkinson facility are being offered positions in the Janesville facility.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development was informed by Lab Safety Supply that 86 workers would be permanently laid off Nov. 1. A company spokesman said that as positions become available at Lab Safety Supply, the postings will be made at Highsmith first.

The spokesman said Highsmith customers can continue to use the company's contact numbers and Web site.

The Capital Times — 9/16/2008 6:18 am