Cole­man plans to close camp in Jef­fco by Feb.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Aldo Svaldi

The Cole­man Co. plans to close its head­quar­ters in un­in­cor­po­rated Jef­fer­son County and elim­i­nate 54 jobs, a set­back to the state’s push to dom­i­nate as a hub for out­door recre­ational equip­ment mak­ers.

Cole­man said it will shut down its of­fice fa­cil­ity at 1767 Den­ver West Blvd. and com­plete the lay­offs by the end of Fe­bru­ary, ac­cord­ing to a no­tice filed with the Colorado Depart­ment of La­bor and Em­ploy­ment.

“The afore­men­tioned lay­off should be con­sid­ered per­ma­nent,” Lori Becker, Cole­man’s vice pres­i­dent of hu­man re­sources, wrote in a let­ter to the state dated Dec. 20.

Cole­man’s par­ent com­pany, Newell Brands, said it will fold man­age­ment of the Cole­man prod­uct line into its bev­er­age­ware busi­nesses based in Chicago.

“Our ap­prox­i­mately 80 Golden-based em­ploy­ees will have an op­por­tu­nity to con­sider other roles within Newell Brands. Other Cole­man op­er­a­tions re­main un­af­fected, in­clud­ing our key hub in Wi­chita,” said Ni­cole Quin­lan, a spokes­woman for the Hobo­ken, N.J., com­pany.

Cole­man built a cus­tom $4.5 mil­lion lodge-style head­quar­ters in 1996 near Golden, only to move its ex­ec­u­tive team back to Wi­chita the fol­low­ing year so they could keep a closer eye on man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions.

Af­ter a 15-year ab­sence, the Cole­man ex­ec­u­tive team took up res­i­dence again in that orig­i­nal head­quar­ters, cit­ing the bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties that Colorado pro­vided ver­sus Kansas to at­tract tal­ent for prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and mar­ket­ing.

Jef­fer­son County of­fered Cole­man $75,000 in cash and a prop­erty tax re­bate of 25 cents on the dol­lar over a 10-year pe­riod to lure the com­pany back. Colorado also agreed to re­bate some of the pay­roll taxes as­so­ci­ated with the jobs the com­pany brought or added in the state. Cole­man at the time said those jobs would pay an av­er­age wage of $108,000 a year.

Jef­fer­son County has made the out­door equip­ment in­dus­try a pri­or­ity in its re­cruit­ment ef­forts and Colorado last year cre­ated an Of­fice of Out­door Re­cre­ation In­dus­try.

Cole­man, while not con­sid­ered cut­ting edge, is an es­tab­lished brand with a wide range of pop­u­lar out­door gear, in­clud­ing cook stoves, in­su­lated cool­ers and tents. The com­pany was founded by Wil­liam Coff­man Cole­man, whose poor eyesight mo­ti­vated him to in­vent a cleaner burn­ing gas lamp in the early 1900s.

A va­ri­ety of own­ers have con­trolled Cole­man in re­cent decades. Pri­vate eq­uity own­ers took the com­pany pub­lic in a stock of­fer­ing in 1992, and Sun­beam ac­quired the com­pany in 2000.

Sun­beam, af­ter get­ting into fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties, was pur­chased by Jar­den in 2004 and ear­lier this year, Newell Brands ac­quired Jar­den. Newell con­trols a host of well-known con­sumer brands, in­clud­ing Rub­ber­maid, Sharpie, Graco, Oster and Elmer’s.

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