Rugg Mfg. sold, moving to Leominster
New Rugg Manufacturing Corp. co-owner Robert Montolio stands in front of the Greenfield office, which was being packed up Friday morning. The company is moving to Leominster.
Recorder photo/Diane Broncaccio
Recorder photo/ Diane Broncaccio
Louie Soucie assembles snow shovels at Rugg Manufacturing Co., Inc. in Greenfield on Tuesday. 07/01/09 Franz
GREENFIELD — After 124 years in Greenfield, Rugg Manufacturing Co. has been sold, and its new owners are moving the business to Leominster.
As light snow fell Friday morning, new co-owner Robert Montolio was at the Newton Street building, helping to pack up equipment to be moved to the new office and distribution center, at Jytek Industrial Park in Leominster.
Montolio said he and Edward Mazzaferro, both of Leominster, purchased the business in October. “We formed a new company, but it’s still called Rugg Manufacturing Corp.,” he said. “So we’re keeping the same name and the same traditions of doing business.”
“We’re moving (equipment) into the factory and a new office and distribution center — which is right next to the factory, where all the plastic components (of the Rugg products) are made. It’s more efficient. And we live there,” said Montolio.
Montolio said the metal components of the company’s rakes, shovels, and garden tools were made at the Greenfield facility, but that equipment will be moved to Leominster.
According to Montolio, the company had six full- and part-time employees when they bought it. He said some of the employees will continue working for Rugg in Leominster, while others have decided not to go.
Stephen E. Peck and Elizabeth (Rugg) Peck purchased Rugg Manufacturing Co. in 1998, and Stephen ran the company until his death in 2012.
When the company was for sale, “We saw an opportunity with this company to keep it going,” said Montolio. “We’re going to make sure that all these domestically made products continue on in America.”
Mazzaferro is president of First Plastics Corp., which makes custom plastic injection molding for other companies. Montolio said his own background is in sales and marketing. He said he ran his own sporting goods company, Compass Outdoor Products, before selling the business to another company in California.
Montolio said the new owners plan to expand the line of Rugg shovels and add some additional items to the company’s garden and lawn-care products for the spring season. Rugg is perhaps best known for its trademark “backsaver” shovels with a bent handle intended to make shoveling snow easier on the back.
Amos Rugg started the company in 1842, by making wooden hay rakes out of a factory in Montague. After a fire burned the factory down in 1889, the factory was relocated to 105 Newton St., where it has been ever since. The first snow shovels were made there during the slow winter months of 1879.
The factory was converted during World War II from making rakes and shovels to carbine magazines and battleship supplies. The wartime search for lightweight materials also led to the development of a new, lightweight line of snow shovels — made with aluminum blades.
According to a 2004 Recorder article, the company employed about 15 people during its busiest season.
Rugg Lumber, the lumber and hardware division of the company, opened in 1921 and separated from Rugg Manufacturing in 1998. Rugg Lumber moved to West Hatfield in 2008.
When asked about any plans for the Greenfield facility, Montolio said the building is still owned by Betsy Peck and that he didn’t know what would be done with the property after the business moves out.
Peck was unavailable for comment Friday.
You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
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