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Whirlpool to lay off 700 in Arkansas

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Whirlpool has announced it will layoff around 700 employees at a Fort Smith, Ark.-based refrigerator facility.

The company said layoffs are expected to begin next month.

“Like many manufacturers, we are facing a marketplace filled with unprecedented challenges, including lower demand levels, significant and unrelenting increases in the costs of steel, oil and other materials used to make and deliver our products,” said Alan Holaday, vp-manufacturing operations for Whirlpool North America. “These work force adjustments, while difficult for our employees and their families, are necessary to remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

Most recently, the company said it also plans to lay off around 120 people from its Evansville, Ind., manufacturing facility.

The company has consolidated operations at a number of North American plants, and Whirlpool also said it planned to “accelerate” its schedule of new product launches in 2008, including 70 new products in North America this year.

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Handy Hardware fully operational after Hurricane Ike

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Less than a week after Hurricane Ike struck the Texas Gulf Coast, Handy Hardware Wholesale, is operating at full capacity, the Houston-based company announced.

“We have resumed all normal delivery schedules and continue to focus on the service to our member-dealers, as well as our employees in the aftermath of such a horrible natural disaster,” Handy Hardware president Tina Kirbie said.

According to Mickey Schulte, vp-marketing and purchasing, there was minimal damage to the operation, which allowed the distributor to focus on the needs of its member-dealers. “Our fleet suffered no damage, and we had limited damage to our inventory. The minor repairs to the roof of our 560,000-square-foot warehouse are already complete,” he said.

Established in 1961, Handy Hardware Wholesale operates in 10 states, mostly in the South and Southeast.

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Lowe’s, NASCAR’s Johnson raising money for Ike victims

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lowe’s, along with NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, will be raising money for victims of Hurricane Ike when Johnson participates in the NASCAR Spring Cup Race this weekend at Dover International Speedway in Delaware.

Through “Racing for Relief,” Lowe’s will donate $48 for every lap of the scheduled 400 laps that Johnson completes to the American Red Cross to help provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of Ike and other 2008 hurricanes. In addition, if Johnson wins the race, Lowe’s will donate an additional $4,800.

As part of the promotion, the Red Cross logo will be displayed on the deck lid of Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Impala.

Funds raised through Lowe’s Racing for Relief will supplement an existing $1 million Lowe’s donation to the American Red Cross. More than 1,575 Lowe’s stores nationwide are serving as official cash donation sites to benefit the American Red Cross relief efforts throughout the 2008 hurricane season. Lowe’s will match in-store contributions dollar-for-dollar, up to $250,000.

Since partnering with the Red Cross in 1999, Lowe’s has raised more than $17.5 million for disaster relief.

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