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Armstrong and Allen Getting Shut Down?


Stercorarius

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http://toolguyd.com/apex-tool-group-cuts-armstrong-and-allen-tool-brands/

As if SBD's recent acquisitions weren't enough news now we have this. Thoughts?

 

This isn't exactly concrete news, but it isn't unlikely that Apex would terminate the two brands. The odds of anyone buying Allen or Armstrong from them is low. I don't own any Armstrong tools, but I might pick up a few ratchets from them while I still can.

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So maybe and maybe not. This could just be a case of a reporter using poor word choice, or the Apex tools Communications Director using poor word choice. There hasn't been an official statement by Apex Tool Group currently.

At one point it says,"Rhoads said the positions will be eliminated by March 31 as the production of the Armstrong and Allen tool lines ramps down."

 

It also says, "She said production of the Allen and Armstrong lines of hand tools will end by March 31."

 

 

 

Screenshot_20170113-082241.pngScreenshot_20170113-082229.png

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1 minute ago, Cr8ondt said:

Hate to say it but killing the brand kills the warranty obligation too, I can't see paying the premium price.  Unless they are sold for fire sale prices I'm not going to be an owner.

Fair enough. It's one of those things where I'd like to own a little bit of tool history. Some of them appear to just be rebadged gear wrench though.

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4 minutes ago, Stercorarius said:

Fair enough. It's one of those things where I'd like to own a little bit of tool history. Some of them appear to just be rebadged gear wrench though.

Can't disagree with your logic, it's just not for me.

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In other words pardon my French but fuck us made products were taking this shit over seas for good, this infuriates me to where I don't even want to give them commi bastards my money, I've normally not shied away from Chinese tools but my latest German addiction I've only been looking at us and German made tools, I like some gear wrench stuff but I don't think I can support a company that shits on our door step, overreaction by me? Probably yes but this is what gives major tool companies such a bad rep


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1 hour ago, JimboS1ice said:

In other words pardon my French but fuck us made products were taking this shit over seas for good, this infuriates me to where I don't even want to give them commi bastards my money, I've normally not shied away from Chinese tools but my latest German addiction I've only been looking at us and German made tools, I like some gear wrench stuff but I don't think I can support a company that shits on our door step, overreaction by me? Probably yes but this is what gives major tool companies such a bad rep


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That's another reason why I Like SK built in us still ??

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I think this report was written as it pertains to the plant being shut rather than the entire brand. There's a hell of a lot more people than that working for Armstrong company wide. Plus, Armstrong is the only thing that keeps them in the lucrative government contract business. 

 

I've made it no secret over the years that I dispise Apex and you'll find VERY few Apex made tools in my box as a result. Apex has ruined every brand they've touched over the years with the exception of gearwrench. Crescent, Cooper, Weller, and on and on. That's what happens when a hedge fund is calling the shots.

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I definitely don't see Armstrong getting shut down. Admittedly, I shy away from Armstrong because their ratchets are essentially better-made Craftsman. Their pliers are made by Pro America/Kal, so I might as well just buy Pro America for cheaper.

 

Allen? Who really cares? They don't make anything but hex keys and a gearless ratchet at this point. I guess the whole "Allen wrench" thing is worth something but to whom? The person that calls it an "Allen wrench" generally doesn't know there's an Allen Tools.

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5 hours ago, BMack37 said:

I definitely don't see Armstrong getting shut down. Admittedly, I shy away from Armstrong because their ratchets are essentially better-made Craftsman. Their pliers are made by Pro America/Kal, so I might as well just buy Pro America for cheaper.

 

Allen? Who really cares? They don't make anything but hex keys and a gearless ratchet at this point. I guess the whole "Allen wrench" thing is worth something but to whom? The person that calls it an "Allen wrench" generally doesn't know there's an Allen Tools.

Allen is to hex wrench as Kleenex is to tissue. I imagine the name will always stick regardless.

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If they truly are getting shut down, remember the real puppet masters are the guys running Bain Capital. Their whole business model is to buy struggling companies and gut them for all they're worth. Don't get me wrong Bain has had some success turning companies around and making them profitable. They aren't committed to the reputation or longevity of companies they buy, much less the employees, as long as it's a net gain before the company disappears. 

 

Until there is an official release from Apex, I won't expect a full discontinuation of Armstrong. Can you really blame them for shutting down the brand though? I mean not a single person on here has said they own an Armstrong tool, and the opinion here it seems is that you wouldn't buy any of their tools because of a lack of commitment to American manufacturing. If no one buys their American tools they don't really have any option other than to cease American manufacturing. I'm all for made in the US and buying American made tools when I can. 

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An interesting, unsubstantiated theory about this and the timing from the toolguyd comments.

 

"Toolfreak says

Jan 13, 2017 at 11:08 pm

Apex will still have the Craftsman contract, that isn’t going anywhere as long as Sears is still in business.

I suspect that Apex was hoping for a sweetheart deal on the Craftsman brand, and it would be able to manufacture it’s Gearwrench-branded tools under the Craftsman name instead once it owned the rights, but it didn’t really expect SB&D to bid as high as it did and actually wind up with Craftsman.

Maybe Apex was even planning to use the Armstrong/Allen facility to manufacture Craftsman tools in the USA, and when the brand went to SBD it decided to close up shop and just concentrate on making Gearwrench stuff overseas.

  • fred says

    Jan 14, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Coming on the heels of the announcement of the sale of the Craftsman brand to SBD – this Apex announcement seems too coincidental to be unrelated. You are probably right that Apex or Bain Capital judged that keeping Allen/Armstrong going with SBD owning Craftsman was a not in their best interests.

    REPLY.                       "
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I remember hearing that Armstrong was moving where the tools were made because there was an issue with a bunch of their tools being out of stock. I also thing part of the problem is those brands are not really marketed all that much. Look at how much marketing and buzz you hear about Grearwrench, but Armstrong and Allen Crickets. Proto doesn't really market much either but they positioned for institutional buyers more than anything.

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I'm a little curious as to how Apex would be guaranteed to keep a Craftsman contract with SBD owning the brand. 

I agree that the timing of this Apex announcement (whatever it actually means) and the Craftsman sale, are pretty hard to chalk up to coincidence. 

 

Then again, off the top of my head, the only USA Craftsman products left at the time of the sale were sourced from Western Forge (Ideal) anyway. I can't think of a single USA made Apex sourced Craftsman tool still in existence unless it would be something from their Industrial line. That would match up with an Armstrong contract, but do they even have an industrial line in production currently?

 

I guess I just haven't kept up with either brand well enough to say, but I am looking forward to seeing where all this leads.

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Looks like the S. Carolina facility was itself harboring production from 2 others that were shut down in 2015. 

 

"APEX Tool Group has made the difficult decision to close our manufacturing facilities in Dallas, Texas and Springdale, Ark., by the end of 2015, and to consolidate production of our Made in the USA brands to an existing facility we own in Sumter, S.C.,” the APEX Tool Group noted in a statement. “We plan to add 150 to 200 jobs in Sumter to handle this additional capacity, and our associates in Dallas and Springdale whose jobs are impacted will have the first opportunity to apply for these positions.

All three of these facilities are operating substantially below capacity so we need to consolidate these manufacturing operations in order to be competitive and serve our customers efficiently.”

 

The plot thickens ?

 

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7 minutes ago, Conductor562 said:

I'm a little curious as to how Apex would be guaranteed to keep a Craftsman contract with SBD owning the brand. 

I agree that the timing of this Apex announcement (whatever it actually means) and the Craftsman sale, are pretty hard to chalk up to coincidence. 

 

Then again, off the top of my head, the only USA Craftsman products left at the time of the sale were sourced from Western Forge (Ideal) anyway. I can't think of a single USA made Apex sourced Craftsman tool still in existence unless it would be something from their Industrial line. That would match up with an Armstrong contract, but do they even have an industrial line in production currently?

 

I guess I just haven't kept up with either brand well enough to say, but I am looking forward to seeing where all this leads.

The way I read it Sears can continue to do what it wants with the Craftsman brand and SBD can do their own thing also. Its kind of a convoluted arrangement.

"

Sears To Continue Developing, Sourcing & Selling Craftsman In All Sears Retail Channels Under Perpetual License Agreement.

Translation: Sears can continue business as usual for Craftsman brand?

Perpetual License Allowing Sears To Continue Selling In Sears-Related Channels (Royalty-Free For 15 Years, 3% Thereafter)." From Toolguyd

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Good point didn't think about other facilities but it's still some shite if you ask me, that whole conglomerate is just bad news, I guess I shouldn't jump the gun and totally write of gear wrench but I don't like what Apex is doing and we have Seen Decrease in quality over the years, look at crescent, once the standard name in combi wrenches it's now just a Chinese defense weapon from the shop rats lol


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People speak with their wallets unfortunately and most people don't care where their tools come from. Even the snobbiest amongst us have Chinese manufactured tools. Most of my most expensive tools are Chinese, and they're red and yellow. When your asking price for hand tools gets into entry price for power tools a large swathe of potential customers are turned away. 

 

Armstrong isn't boutique-brand priced but if you pay an American to do a job that product is more expensive, plain and simple. Sadly, most people have a "f--- you, got mine" type attitude toward life so you'll continue to see manufacturing jobs leave permanently. 

 

That said, distribution/retail channels might play a large part here. I've never seen an Armstrong tool in person. A quick Amazon perusal gives me some hits but Williams and SK underprices them significantly.  

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6 hours ago, Jronman said:

@JimboS1ice you selling your Chinese stuff then? ie. Milwaukee stuff.

lol nah pretty hard to find a true US made power tool, and non of you Dewalt fanboys say a word, "ASSEMBLED WITH US MATERIALS" aint made in the USA, I just meant for hand tools I've gotten a taste of german and US quality and its no comepetion

 

although i could go all festool and metabo and go total german... hmmm

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3 hours ago, JimboS1ice said:

lol nah pretty hard to find a true US made power tool, and non of you Dewalt fanboys say a word, "ASSEMBLED WITH US MATERIALS" aint made in the USA, I just meant for hand tools I've gotten a taste of german and US quality and its no comepetion

 

although i could go all festool and metabo and go total german... hmmm

actually the official seal on the tools say "this tool is proudly made in the USA with global materials".

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