Ariens Co. announces that it will exit the direct marketing business in an effort to focus on its core power equipment business. The company has signed agreements for the sale of two of the three brands that make up the division and continues to explore options to divest the third and final brand. The company acquired the three direct marketing brands — Ben Meadows, AW Direct and Gempler’s — from W. W. Grainger Inc. in 2014. The announcement affects 150 employees located in Janesville, Wis. All transactions are expected to be complete between the end of August and December 2018. The business will continue to operate as usual, and all employees will retain positions, until that time.

“The difficult decision to divest of these brands is to ensure we focus our resources on the tremendous growing demand for Ariens and Gravely brands of lawn and snow equipment. The past three years has provided record growth in this core business” says Dan Ariens, Chairman and CEO. “It will allow us to concentrate capital and talent in our manufacturing operations.”  

Ben Meadows and AW Direct are pending sales with two different buyers and both will be moved out of state as part of the terms. The sale of both divisions are expected to be complete by the end of August 2018. Further details of the two sales will not be disclosed. Ben Meadows provides equipment, gear and supplies to the forestry and natural resources market. AW Direct provides equipment, gear and supplies to the towing industry. 

The company continues to explore options to divest the remaining Gempler’s division at this time. Gempler’s targets the landscape, agricultural and horticultural segments.

Company officials met with employees in Janesville earlier today. Eligible employees will be provided with a severance package based on the number of years of service. Employees are welcome to apply for open positions at other Ariens Co. facilities and may be eligible to receive a relocation bonus, according to the company. The company has also invited the businesses purchasing the brands to conduct on-site employee interviews if they choose to do so.​