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Shopping cart manufacturer shuts down

Aaron Kremer December 24, 2008 0

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It appears Rehrig has gone belly up and shuttered its 317,000-square-foot plant. More than 100 workers are likely out of work and local businesses that were owned money might not get paid.

The phones are dead and the parking lot abandoned at a Chesterfield-based shopping cart manufacturer.

Rehrig United International’s facility at 1301 Batter Brooke Pkwy. in Chesterfield was empty Tuesday afternoon except for a security guard who said he was shutting it down.

An official with the Chesterfield Economic Development Agency was not aware of the closure but said that at last count the plant employed about 125 workers.

It’s a dizzying collapse of a company that for decades manufactured plastic shopping carts. In 2007, a Massachusetts private equity group purchased the company for an undisclosed sum and combined it with a metal fabricator. Richmond BizSense was unable to reach anyone at Woodside Capital Partners, the group that owned 85 percent of Rehrig.

The deal didn’t work. According to one news story, Rehrig did not generate the revenue to cover the debt of the private equity deal. The company had to borrow $1 million from shareholders in September 2007 to make payroll and debts.

It owed more than $12 million in September, when Rehrig filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware.

Rehrig defaulted on its senior debt when it reported in August that the inventory at a facility had been overstated by $2 million.

The company was founded in 1975. Until 1999, the company had a plant on Lombardy Street in Richmond.

More reading:
The Deal: Rehrig rolls into Chapter 11

Aaron Kremer is the BizSense editor. His favorite Rehrig model is the NB6000.

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