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Merillat Cabinetry responds to white trend

BY Ken Clark

Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Merillat Cabinetry launched a Merillat Classic line, described as new solutions to meet the hottest must-haves — white kitchens, universal design and the need for budget-conscious options.

“Merillat works closely with consumers and professionals to provide beautiful options that meet the most sought-after design and functionality needs,” said Sarah Reep, director of designer relations and education for Merillat. “This launch reflects trends that are here to stay — an important factor in any kitchen and bath remodel.” 

White kitchens continue to grow in popularity. Merillat’s new Cotton paint finish is an on-trend, bright white paint that serves as the perfect backdrop to colorful accents and a complement to a wide range of appliance finishes, floor treatments and countertop materials. The new Cotton finish is available on select Maple door styles.

“Today’s families are looking for fresh, bright and inviting spaces,” said Reep. “After years of economic hardship, a trend toward clean white lines speaks to a feeling of optimism.”

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Unemployment rate slips to 7.7%

BY Ken Clark

The November unemployment rate released this morning declined from 7.9% to 7.7% as more people stopped looking for work, the Labor Department said. 

The mixed bag of data showed that the U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November — that’s below the average of 151,000 per month since the beginning of this year. 

In November, employment rose in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care. Employment in construction fields dropped 20,000. Much of the loss in construction occurred in construction of buildings (down 11,000). Since early 2010, employment in construction has shown no clear trend, according to the bureau.

The Labor Department also said the months of October and September added fewer jobs — 49,000 fewer jobs — than originally estimated.

Retail trade employment rose by 53,000 in November and has increased by 140,000 over the past three months.

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Harper Brush Works sold

BY Brae Canlen

Cequent Consumer Products, a market leader in household cleaning tools and automotive aftermarket products, announced the asset purchase of Harper Brush Works, located in Fairfield, Iowa.

John Aleva, president of Cequent Consumer Products, said the acquisition was a way of expanding the Solon, Ohio-based company beyond automotive products.

“We have been leaders in the automotive market for years and now we are strategically paving the way to become the leading manufacturer and distributor of cleaning tool products for both residential and industrial markets,” Aleva said.

Harper was founded by entrepreneur, Alphonso K. "A.K." Harper of Fairfield, Iowa, in 1900. Harper has been manufacturing high-quality cleaning tools for the retail and commercial markets ever since. Cequent will utilize the Harper assets as a strong foundation to continue operations in Iowa, the announcement said. Harper is the second cleaning tool brand Cequent has purchased this year. Laitner Brush, an American broom and brush manufacturer since 1855, was acquired by Cequent in February.

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