The last Coleman service center is closing, but the company isn’t eager to discuss it or allow media in the center for a story.
The center is at the Coleman Factory Outlet and Museum at 235 N. St. Francis. The store is not closing.
In a response to a request from Have You Heard?, Newell Brands, which owns Coleman, released the following statement.
“Newell Brands recently announced a new strategic framework, the Growth Game Plan, that included a simplification of the company’s structure from 32 legacy business units into 16 global operating divisions. Last week, we announced the design and staffing of several of these new divisions, with a focus on driving accelerated growth over time. While the vast majority of our employees will either continue in their current roles or assume new or expanded roles, unfortunately, there also will be some job reductions, representing far less than 1% of our total workforce. We thank our impacted colleagues for their service. We are committed to treating them fairly and helping them transition as smoothly as possible. Over time, we expect that our plans for growth will enable us to expand employment in many of our priority business areas.”
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One person with knowledge of the service center says it’s one of the oldest parts of the Coleman business since founder W.C. Coleman used to make lamps and then travel the area to service them.
The service center’s last day in business is Dec. 31.
“It’s just kind of an end of an era,” says Augusta resident Bart Ridder.
He has taken a few things to be fixed there through the years and now mainly visits the center for parts.
“It’s just kind of disappointing,” he says.
Ridder says he feels especially bad for two service workers who have a combined 68 years at the center.
“They really didn’t get much notice,” he says.
Ridder says he’s seen a change in Coleman products through the years.
“They don’t sell things to be repaired. It’s pretty much meant to be replaced,” he says. “I just think it’s kind of a reflection of … a throwaway society anymore.”
Even though Ridder says he mainly fixes things on his own now, he says he liked knowing the center was there.
“It was kind of a source of pride to have that in Wichita still, especially since Coleman was here for so long.”