Duvinage buys Ohio stair company, expects to add 50 jobs over 5 years

November 12, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |
  • Duvinage President Robert A. Maruszewski on Monday discusses the company's recent acquisition of Sharon Stairs of Akron, Ohio.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Duvinage, which makes circular and spiral staircases, has purchased an Ohio stair manufacturer and is shifting the production work to Hagerstown.

Duvinage President Robert A. Maruszewski said Monday that the purchase of Sharon Stairs of Akron, Ohio, and the transfer of its equipment and work orders are complete.

Because of the additional production, he said, Duvinage expects to add 50 more jobs in Hagerstown in the next five years — and possibly more, as the economy improves.

Duvinage, which is on West Oak Ridge Drive, had 47 employees in 2007.

As the economy dropped, so did Duvinage’s work force, falling to about 20 employees last year.

After hiring three of Sharon Stairs’ workers, Duvinage now has 25 employees.

Maruszewski said his company expects to hire an average of one new employee per month for the next five years.

Sharon Stairs, also known as Worthington Metal Fabricators, makes egress stairs, which lead from floor to floor in office buildings, hotels and similar structures.

Duvinage’s circular stairs, which have a center pole and can fit in tight spaces, are in a variety of buildings, such as condominiums and school theaters.

Maruszewski said Duvinage worked as a subcontractor, of sorts, on a Sharon Stairs project.

When Duvinage learned in April that Sharon Stairs’ owners planned to close the company, Duvinage asked about buying the brand and the design, he said.

Sharon Stairs had a backload of business orders to get through, so Duvinage agreed to buy the business, the equipment and the inventory.

Maruszewski said the sale is complete. He declined to discuss the purchase terms, citing a confidentiality agreement.

Duvinage, founded in 1895, purchased Sharon Stairs, which started in 1963, with its own money and a bank loan.

Duvinage also has been talking with the City of Hagerstown, the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission and the Tri-County Council for Western Maryland about possible loans or grants to help the company hire more employees for the expanded production, Maruszewski said.

Duvinage started learning about and working on the Sharon Stairs product line over the summer, using some equipment Sharon Stairs sent to Hagerstown.

Last week, five more tractor-trailers filled with equipment arrived.

Maruszewski said Duvinage’s Hagerstown plant has the capacity to take on the Sharon Stairs work.

Duvinage is now working on four large staircases for the Javits Center in New York City.

The Hagerstown plant also is handling Sharon Stairs projects for Drexel University in Philadelphia, a Milwaukee parking garage and a Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Kentucky.

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