Vacuum maker has already installed new lines as part of plans for expansion
COOKEVILLE – Just last summer, the status of Oreck’s Cookeville operation was in limbo, following the company’s bankruptcy filing. But now, big economic development news is being celebrated on Salem Drive, after new owner TTI Floor Care North America recently announced plans for expansion.
TTI Floor Care, which won the bankruptcy bid for Oreck in court last July, said it would invest in the Cookeville facility. The vacuum maker is adding additional manufacturing capacity – the company is returning portions of production from China and Mexico – nearly doubling its workforce here over the next five years.
The announcement means 221 new jobs for Putnam County and the UC. TTI officials told the UCBJ that the jobs will primarily be full-time manufacturing and support positions, but the full scope “will be determined as they evaluate the current needs and long-term growth of the business.”
In addition to Oreck products, the Cookeville facility also handles some Hoover and Royal commercial production following the TTI transition. The commercial products are built for cleaning in hospitals, schools, hotels and other larger institutional facilities, said John Marzich, senior manager, communications for TTI Floor Care. Two new lines have already been installed.
During the formal announcement in August, TTI officials cited Cookeville’s skilled workforce and central location for shipping.
“The Cookeville facility was chosen to transition some of our lines as the facility specializes in low-volume, premium products,” Marzich said. “We are very excited to expand our production here in Cookeville, which will support our leading position within the North American floor care market.”
George Halford, president/CEO at the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, called the announcement “a significant victory for our community and region.” No new local incentives were part of the deal but a state grant totaling $844,000 will help the company purchase and retrofit equipment. “TTI is a global company,” Halford said. “This is a huge conglomerate that’s going to infuse a lot of capital in this project, in our area.”
Last summer, TTI won a bid to buy Oreck following a bankruptcy auction. Oreck had filed for Chapter 11 in early May 2013, citing a decline in sales.
“This is a company that we could have lost when Oreck was acquired in 2013, but has chosen not only to continue to invest in our region, but to grow and thrive,” added Chuck Sparks, Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce board chairman. “(It) was a great day for TTI Floor Care, but also a great one for Cookeville and Putnam County.”
The Cookeville facility will receive building upgrades and infrastructure improvements through the expansion. TTI also maintains a call center at the Cookeville location.
TTI Floor Care North America develops and manufactures vacuum cleaning products and floor care appliances including upright vacuum cleaners, carpet washers, hard floor cleaners and hand-held vacs. The company sells its products through a network of retailers to customers in the United States.