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Washington County, Hagerstown assist Duvinage with acquisition

Company recently purchased Sharon Stairs and is shifting the production work to the city

December 06, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • In this Herald-Mail file photo, Duvinage President Robert A. Maruszewski discusses the company's recent acquisition of an Ohio firm. Washington County and the city of Hagerstown are giving Duvinage nearly $68,000 to help the Hagerstown company through its acquisition of another staircase manufacturer. Its a loan, but will become a grant if the company meets certain conditions for hiring and retaining employees and for obtaining financing.
Herald-Mail file photo

Washington County and the city of Hagerstown are giving Duvinage nearly $68,000 to help the Hagerstown company through its acquisition of another staircase manufacturer.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved the county’s share on Tuesday. It’s a loan, but will become a grant if the company meets certain conditions for hiring and retaining employees and for obtaining financing.

Duvinage, which makes circular and spiral staircases, recently purchased Sharon Stairs, an Ohio stair manufacturer, and is shifting the production work to Hagerstown.

Duvinage President Robert A. Maruszewski said during an interview last month that he expects his company to add 50 more jobs in Hagerstown in the next five years because of the additional production, and possibly more, as the economy improves.

Duvinage had 47 employees in 2007, but that number dropped to 20 last year, before reaching 25 this year, including three employees who came to Hagerstown from Sharon Stairs.

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A memo on the county’s loan says Duvinage must retain the 22 employees it had as of earlier this year and create at least 38 jobs more by the end of 2015. Those 60 jobs must be retained through the end of 2017.

The other condition is that Duvinage get bank financing to help with its acquisition.

Robert Mandley, a project coordinator for the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, said Duvinage has obtained financing through Susquehanna Bank.

The company also has applied to the Tri-County Council, an economic development organization, for $100,000 to supplement the bank financing, Mandley said.

The incentive package also includes a similar loan-to-grant award of $17,875 that the city of Hagerstown approved in October, according to a memo Mandley prepared.

Before Tuesday’s vote on the county’s award, Commissioner Jeffrey A. Cline said the idea for assistance started when county officials stopped at Duvinage as part of their continuing series of small-business visits.

According to Mandley, Maruszewski talked about the company’s difficulties and mentioned the possibility of shutting down.

Mandley said Commissioner William B. McKinley suggested that local governments and organizations work together to help Duvinage, which is how the multi-part plan developed.

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