Brunswick Acquires Ebonite International

by Bob Johnson 0

Brunswick Bowling Products announced today that it has acquired the assets of Ebonite International, including all of Ebonite’s brands, trademarks and technologies.

According to a report in Kentucky New Era, Ebonite’s bowling ball manufacturing plant closed its doors today, and approximately 170 people will lose their jobs.

“Regretfully, the [Western Kentucky] Workforce Board is aware of the Ebonite closure that occurred today,” the workforce board posted on its Facebook page. “Response plans are in the works at this time. Expect more detailed information to be released Monday regarding assistance for employees.”

The acquisition includes the Ebonite, Hammer, Columbia 300 and Track brands.

“Ebonite and its associated brands have an extraordinary history in bowling,” said Corey Dykstra, Chief Executive Officer of Brunswick Bowling Products, in a news release. “We look forward to continuing the tradition of producing outstanding bowling products for loyal Ebonite, Hammer, Columbia 300 and Track consumers.”

Brunswick said it will continue to market products under all the Ebonite brands and will honor all warranties on existing Ebonite International bowling balls.

“The Ebonite acquisition allows us to leverage all our consumer products resources and will allow us to continue to invest in the development of new bowling ball technology,” said Brian Graham, Brunswick’s Vice President of Consumer and Aftermarket Products.

Randy Schickert, Ebonite International’s CEO, said, “Ebonite International has built a strong 109-year legacy in the bowling industry. We believe that Brunswick Bowling Products is the right partner at the right time for continuing the traditions of the Ebonite, Hammer, Columbia 300 and Track brands.”

Mark Lindsey, Executive Director of the Southwest Kentucky Economic Development Council, said in the statement that the council is “saddened to learn about the closing of Ebonite International. The EDC, along with other supporting agencies, stand ready to [help] the employees of Ebonite find new career opportunities.

“For decades, these hard-working employees have demonstrated a world-class skill set and work ethic. We will market their world-class skill set to the companies in our region as well as the new industry prospects that we meet with.”

Josh Blanchard, who signed a two-year contract extension with Columbia 300 in October, wrote in a Twitter post, "As someone who has been to the plant many times, my heart goes out to the hard-working men and women who lost their jobs today. They are some great men and women and I hope they find a new job quickly."

Hammer Pro Staffer Bill O'Neill tweeted that, "This is a tough day for everyone at Ebonite International. Nobody should be feeling sorry for me. Whatever happens from here I will be fine. The people that worked at the plant, the office and on the road are the ones that truly need your thoughts."

Christian County Judge Executive Steve Tribble said that all employees would receive their salary and benefits until Jan. 13.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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