New Owners Keep Memory Of Hoover Plant Alive

Techtronics Industries, which bought and closed an iconic Hoover Co. vacuum cleaner factory, donated boxes of old sales manuals, photographs and other historical items to preservationists.

NORTH CANTON, Ohio (AP) β€” The company that bought and closed the city's iconic Hoover Co. vacuum cleaner factory has donated boxes of old sales manuals, photographs and other historical items to preservationists.
The manuals, employee newspapers and company press releases tell a lot about Hoover and how it worked internally, said Ann Haines, operations coordinator at the Hoover Historical Center at Walsh University.
Hong Kong-based Techtronics Industries Co. Ltd. acquired Hoover earlier this year from Whirlpool Corp. Closing the 85-acre campus resulted in 750 job cuts in North Canton, the northeast Ohio city where Hoover was based for nearly 100 years.
TTI plans to sell the property, which means the factory must be emptied. Items are being donated to the Hoover Historical Center and to the North Canton Heritage Society.
''We understand the significance that this history has for the region and we are happy to have helped by donating these items,'' Chuck Sarka, TTI's human resources vice president said in a statement.
Some items will be displayed at the historical center, Haines said. Others will be available for historians, researchers and students.
But not everyone believes TTI is being careful with Hoover's history as workers clean out the complex.
''So much has been thrown away,'' said Jim Repace, president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1985.
Last month, a man dropped off a package of old photo negatives at the Heritage Society, claiming to have rescued them from a trash bin at the Hoover plant, said Kathleen Fernandez, the society's executive director.
The negatives show men working in the factory, aerial shots of the complex and trucks used to deliver vacuums. Others depict celebrations marking the end of the two World wars and community Christmas celebrations on the Hoover lawn.
The factory is a big place, Fernandez said, and perhaps its not surprising that a pile of negatives β€” even historical ones β€” might get lost as crews empty the facility.
The fact that these items still exist is remarkable.
The Hoover Co. was the kind of responsible company that kept these things and cared about its history, Fernandez said.
TTI has said that a Hoover distribution center and a vacuum bag assembly plant will remain open in the North Canton area. The manufacturing work is be consolidated into Hoover manufacturing operations in El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico.
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