FILLMORE, Ind. — After nearly 40 years, Dixie Chopper has reportedly made its last lawnmower in Putnam County, Ind.
The 120 employees responsible for manufacturing the "World's Fastest Lawn Mower" were told that the majority of them are being let go as further manufacturing will be done elsewhere, now that Dixie Chopper is a Jacobsen/Textron company.
Jacobsen, a Textron Inc. company, acquired the assets of Dixie Chopper in February 2014 from Art Evans, his heirs and investors.
Reportedly some Dixie Chopper parts department employees, along with a few others, were staying on to clear it out.
The announcement reportedly came as a surprise to the majority of Dixie Chopper employees and management personnel, who according to several employees, are receiving 50 days of severance pay.
The closing ends a storied existence for the little mowing company that took on the world after founder Art Evans and a few helpers built the very first Dixie Chopper zero-turning-radius mower in an old dairy barn on his parents' small farm east of Fillmore on April 15, 1980.
Headquartered in Fillmore, every single Dixie Chopper ever manufactured and assembled has been made right at home in Putnam County.
Besides the manufacturing plant in Fillmore, Dixie Chopper also rents the one-time spec building at the west end of Fillmore Road for its parts warehouse.
At one time in the early 2000s, the company, then family-owned by the Evanses, operated the Fillmore plant, ran assembly lines in the old Mallory Capacitor Corp. building on Indianapolis Road (since demolished) and ran the Dixie Chopper Business Center at the airport with a hotel, restaurant and training facilities for its dealers and territory managers.