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Last updated: July 05. 2013 4:24PM - 1481 Views
By ANDREW M. SEDER



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HAZLE TWP. —A mattress company that opened a manufacturing facility in the Humboldt Industrial Park last August announced a merger of its North American operations with England-based Vi-Spring. The move will result in additional jobs coming to the Hazleton area.


The move creates the largest provider of luxury beds in North America and the world – with a combined $380 million dollars in annual sales and will boost production at its southern Luzerne County center. As part of the new arrangement, Vi-Spring will purchase 51-percent of E.S. Kluft & Co. The company will continue selling and marketing the brands separately with their own unique product portfolios. Earl Kluft, a third-generation mattress maker, will be the CEO of the combined North American company.


About 50 people work at the mattress company’s warehouse in Hazle Township and additional hiring is likely, according to Steve Boucher, the Humboldt plant’s general manager.


“For our current employees, we will be taking our best craftsmen and training them on how to make the new, Vi-Spring product. With the increased production, we will also begin hiring in the next 60 to 90 days. At that time, we’ll be looking for skilled workers, preferably people with some experience in making fine upholstery and furniture,” Boucher said.


The catalyst for the deal is international expansion, Kluft noted in an email. He believes this transaction will accelerate the worldwide distribution of both it’s Kluft & Aireloom brands, while Vi-Spring is interested in expanding its operations in the U.S. market.


The move means that Kluft will begin manufacturing and distributing Vi-Spring products from its U.S. based plant near Hazleton. Kluft will also be marketing their products in Canada for the first time as a result – as Vi-Spring already has boutique dealers established.


“Our intention is that this move will lead to increased production for the local plant. After the integration process is complete, we hope to begin warehousing and manufacturing some of the Vi-Spring models – from coils to mattresses – in Hazleton,” Kluft said.


E. S. Kluft & Co., which makes and distributes Aireloom and Kluft brand mattresses, signed a long-term lease last summer for nearly 99,000 square feet of new production space from Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services in a 410,000-square-foot building in the Humboldt Industrial Park.


Kluft moved its operations to Humboldt from the former Park Place mattress facility in Denver, Pa. and started with just 35 employees.


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