SAUK RAPIDS -- The parent company of The Coleman Company Incorporated in Sauk Rapids has confirmed its plan to close that facility.

A Newell Brands spokesperson says

“Newell Brands’ Outdoor & Recreation Business has decided to close its Sauk Rapids, MN facility as the company exits the Stearns® industrial and government line of flotation products at the end of this year and makes manufacturing organizational changes to the recreational personal flotation devices business.


Employees at the Sauk Rapids facility have been notified of the closure. These decisions are not made lightly and we are grateful to the Sauk Rapids team for their hard work and commitment to our brands, and we’re committed to doing all we can to support them through this transition.”

The statement from the company does not say how many employees are impacted by the closure.

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According to the company's website, William P. Hilger started what would become Stearns Inc. His first product was an electrically powered windshield heater in the 1920s.  The company changed hands after World War II and became Stearns Manufacturing Company, and turned toward the future in plastics.

Stearns manufactured outdoor products like life jackets, water ski belts, and plastic boat interiors.  A federal law change in 1971 allowed companies to change the design and look of life jackets that didn't have to be the old bulky orange ones.  The website says, "this was the starter's gun in a race toward ownership of the designed PFD market, a race that Stearns would easily win."

In 2008 Stearns was bought out by the Coleman Company Inc.

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