Wednesday May 15, 2013

NEAL P. GOSWAMI

Senior Staff Writer

Editor's note: This story has been updated online to include a comment from Mace President and CEO John McCann.

BENNINGTON -- Mace Security International Inc., is planning to close its Bennington facility and move production to Cleveland, Ohio, according to people familiar with the company's plans.

An employee of Mace on Tuesday said company officials informed employees of the plan to move. Nearly 40 employees will be out of work when the company moves, which is expected to happen in July, the employee said.

President and CEO John McCann confirmed the move in a voicemail message Wednesday morning.

"We did make a decision. Mace is consolidating its operations in Vermont into Ohio. Our move is just strictly about efficiencies and trying to gain profitability for the company that hasn't been profitable for years," McCann said.

Eric Crawford, a divisional vice president based in Bennington, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a five-year tax credit plan in September that is expected to create 35 full-time positions and $1.9 million in payroll. The plan involves consolidation of Mace's operations, which includes the production of defense sprays and other security products.

Bennington County Industrial Corp. Executive Director Peter Odierna confirmed Mace's plans.


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"While the paint is not dry yet, it does look like a component, if not all, of the manufacturing is going to go to Cleveland," Odierna said. "Mace has been part of the fabric of our community for a long time. The news, obviously, is not good. Our priority is going to be on the 30 jobs that are going to be lost here."

Mace founder and former executive Jon Goodrich said company officials have told him the company plans to vacate its space inside the Holden-Leonard Mill in July. Goodrich still owns the building.

"It just means I need to find another tenant to take up the space they were using," he said.

Goodrich said he founded the company in 1987, but no longer plays a role in company decisions.

"I think it's very sad that we're moving out of town. I brought it here because of Bennington, to help Bennington out. I thought it was a good thing and it's too bad it's leaving. I have no say in that," Goodrich said. "It just happened. Probably good for the new owners, the people that have control over it."

Cleveland.com reported on Tuesday that Mace is now run by the Ancora Group, an investment firm that controls more than 40 percent of the company's stock. All members of the company's board of directors are businessmen from northeast Ohio, the website reported.

Contact Neal P. Goswami at ngoswami@benningtonbanner.com, or follow on Twitter: @nealgoswami