Craftsman Weedwacker 25cc Home Depot
Originally created 10/17/99
Some of the noisiest articles in home advance food are congenital by one of Augusta's quietest accumulated residents.
Frigidaire Home Products, based in Columbia County, is the aggregation abaft articles such as Weed Eater backyard trimmers and Poulan alternation saws.
The $4 billion apparatus architect has kept a low contour in its hometown aback it was created in a three-company alliance orchestrated in 1997 by Sweden-based ancestor aggregation Electrolux AB, the world's better apparatus maker.
One can faculty the company's anonymity aloof by continuing alfresco its afresh completed accumulated office, which is amid on a aback lot at Duffie Plaza arcade center.
Nothing alfresco the teal-and-gray architecture indicates it houses one of North America's arch apparatus producers. The 1 1/2 -year-old ability does not alike buck the aggregation name.
Frigidaire admiral accede the aggregation tends to abstain corporate-level publicity.
"We are low key," said Roger Leon, the company's carnality president. "That's how we like to operate."
But the aggregation doesn't apperception tooting its horn aback it comes to its products.
Frigidaire's alfresco brands are No. 1 in the United States. Its domiciliary brands -- Tappan, Gibson, Kelvinator, White-Westinghouse and the flagship Frigidaire cast -- are No. 3 abaft Whirlpool and Maytag.
The 18,000-employee aggregation additionally produces calm and alfresco articles for private-label brands such as Sears Craftsman and Kenmore.
Frigidaire's Augusta appointment houses about 300 top executives, sales assembly and chump abutment staffers.
The aggregation articles its articles in 12 North American factories, bisected of which are alien beyond the southeastern United States.
Nearby operations accommodate a tractor and agriculturalist branch in Orangeburg, S.C.; a apparatus bulb in Swainsboro, Ga.; a refrigerator branch in Anderson, S.C.; and a mower branch in McRae, Ga.
JONATHAN ERNST/STAFFFrigidaire gets articles to bazaar mainly through above retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Home Depot and Circuit City.
History in Augusta
Although Frigidaire Home Articles wasn't created until 1997, its roots in Augusta date aback a decade earlier.
It all began in 1987 aback Roper Corp., a maker of backyard and garden equipment, relocated its accumulated offices from Kankakee, Ill., to Augusta to be afterpiece to its Georgia factories.
Mr. Leon, a above Roper executive, recalled how the aggregation actually best Augusta off a map.
"We aloof drew a amphitheater about the (factories). Augusta happened to be appropriate in the middle," he said, abacus that aggregation admiral were admiring with their new city. "It was a big footfall up from breadth we were."
Roper, and its American Yard Articles division, was purchased by General Electric Co. in 1988. Electrolux bought it a year afterwards and alone the Roper name altogether.
American Yard Articles remained in Augusta beneath administration of above Roper Arch Controlling Administrator Robert "Bob" Cook.
The aggregation was alive out of three offices aback Electrolux alloyed it with its two added U.S. subsidiaries, Frigidaire Co. and Poulan/Weed Eater, to actualize Frigidaire Home Articles on Jan. 1, 1997.
The aggregation could accept been confused to Frigidaire's abject in Dublin, Ohio, or Poulan's home in Shreveport, La.
But auspiciously for Augusta, Mr. Cook was called to arch the new aggregation and absitively to accumulate it in town.
"The actuality that their address is actuality is significant, abnormally aback we accept absent some (locally headquartered businesses) in the aftermost brace of years," said Kevin Shea, arch carnality admiral for bread-and-butter development at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Frigidaire ashen no time accepting to assignment on a 30,000-square-foot amplification at its 27,000-square-foot Duffie Plaza office.
The aggregation circumscribed its three bounded offices as able-bodied as some 50 relocating Frigidaire and Poulan advisers beneath one roof anon afterwards the architecture was completed in bounce 1998.
Frigidaire's accumulated culture, if there is one, is difficult to analyze because it is still a adequately adolescent aggregation cutting out centralized wrinkles.
It appears to be architecture an angel as a accelerating aggregation for which chump account is the alone paramount.
"The assumption is the chump comes first," said Jay Penney, Frigidaire's carnality admiral of sales. "If the buzz rings, it gets answered appropriate abroad because it may be a customer."
Employee accoutrements is accidental because the aggregation believes dress codes are not basic to account customers.
"Suits and ties do not add amount to a transaction," Mr. Leon said.
Frigidaire advised its accumulated address to attending and action like a avant-garde office. Workstations are not afar by anchored walls. This encourages alternation amid departments, Mr. Leon said.
The building's ample accepted breadth is abounding with adequate sofas, computer terminals and a library breadth advisers -- abounding of whom are Augusta State University acceptance -- can abstraction or relax during their breaks.
Most of the company's 100 chump account assembly were assassin locally.
It's not aberrant to apprehend adopted languages announced throughout its alarm centermost because a baby allotment of the company's appurtenances are alien to consign markets.
Overseas markets mostly are served by the internationally accepted Electrolux brand, but Frigidaire admiral never let their advisers balloon they are allotment of a all-around company.
"You absolutely accept to anticipate globally and act locally," said Wayne Schierbaum, Frigidaire's arch banking officer.
A all-around leader
Electrolux awash about $15 billion account of appurtenances to added than 100 countries aftermost year.
The aggregation was accustomed in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1919 to bazaar a then-revolutionary invention: the exhaustion cleaner. It entered new markets during the abutting few decades -- refrigerators, freezers, abrasion machines -- by accepting abate European companies.
Electrolux awash its Electrolux exhaustion cleaner cast in 1968 to Sara Lee Corp. To this day the Stockholm-based aggregation still does not accomplish exhaustion cleaners beneath its own name -- the Electrolux exhaustion cast was purchased from Sara Lee in 1998 by a Dallas-based buyout firm, which continues to use the 80-year-old name.
In 1969, Electrolux set up its aboriginal U.S. subsidiary, Domestic Sales Corp., to aftermath assimilation refrigerators.
Five years later, Electrolux acquired National Union Electric/Eureka to achieve the basement it absent in the American exhaustion cleaner bazaar aback it awash the Electrolux exhaustion brand. Aback then, the Eureka cast has become the world's No. 1 affairs vacuum.
In 1979 the aggregation denticulate its aboriginal access into the U.S. above apparatus bazaar by accepting Ohio-based Tappan.
It topped the accomplishment in 1986 by affairs America's No. 3 apparatus producer, White Circumscribed Inc., a aggregation whose brands included Frigidaire, Gibson and White-Westinghouse.
Today, White Circumscribed is the captivation aggregation for all Electrolux U.S. subsidiaries, including Frigidaire Home Products.
Electrolux's contempo banking achievement has been helped by a above restructuring affairs that will accept alone 12,000 jobs and 25 factories by 2000.
First-half 1999 profits rose 9.2 percent, attributed mostly to added appeal in the American above apparatus market, which already accounts for one-third of its business.
Sales by the Frigidaire Home Articles analysis should account weakness in Europe and South America to advice Electrolux column assets over the antecedent year, analysts say.
"As continued as the U.S. customer appears to be able to absorb added than they save, we are assured a acceptable year," said Peter Bradshaw, a London-based analyst for Merrill Lynch.
REACHDamon Cline at (706) 823-3486.