Burton to close South Burlington manufacturing plant

first_imgBurton announced Tuesday that it will shift premium snowboard production from its small, Vermont-based Burton Manufacturing Center (BMC) to Austria, where the company has been building snowboards for over 25 years. Product design and development will still be home-grown in Vermont, where the company will relocate its snowboard prototyping resources from BMC into a new, purely R&D-driven prototype facility at its global headquarters in Burlington. Burton said 43 jobs will be lost, leaving 377 in Vermont and 900 worldwide.BMC, located in South Burlington, Vermont is slated to close in June of this year. Burton’s premium factory in Austria already has the high-end technology and capacity to increase its production. Forty-three employees will be affected by BMC’s closure, and Burton is working closely with the Vermont Department of Labor’s Rapid Response program to assist these employees with unemployment and re-employment resources. “When I started Burton Snowboards in 1977, all we did was make snowboards in Vermont,” says Jake Burton Carpenter, Founder and Chairman, Burton Snowboards. “Thanks to the BMC staff, we’ve excelled at prototyping and developing product in Vermont, which is why all four Burton Olympic halfpipe medals were won on snowboards coming out of our local factory. But simply put, it costs us significantly more to produce a board in Vermont than we are capable of selling it for, and sadly, this is not sustainable in the current economy.”Carpenter started the company in Londonderry after seeing someone riding a homemade board.Carpenter cited several factors for closing the South Burlington facility in a Burlington Free Press story, including labor, real estate, utility and health care benefits. The cost is significantly less in Austria, he said.The relocated BMC R&D facility will continue to turn riders’ ideas into the most advanced prototypes on snow, with the added benefit of having all prototyping resources under one roof at Burton’s global headquarters, Burton said in a statement.”Our biggest priority at Burton is to make the best product for snowboarders, and we do that by listening to riders and investing more in research and development than anyone in our industry,” says Burton CEO Laurent Potdevin. “It makes the most economic sense to produce all of our high-end snowboards in Austria. Here in Vermont, we will continue to focus on advanced product development, which will allow us to bring the latest snowboard technology to riders faster than ever before.”Burton is the world’s leading snowboard company and owns other top boardsports brands, including Channel Islands Surfboards, DNA Distribution (Alien Workshop and Habitat Skateboards), The Program (Forum, Special Blend and FOURSQUARE) Analog, Gravis, ANON and R.E.D.  After the BMC manufacturing changes, Burton and its family of brands will employ over 900 people worldwide.Source: Burton. 3.16.2010last_img

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