LITTLETON — During Thursday’s inaugural Community Open House, businesses in the Littleton Industrial Park said they’re thriving but in significant need of more employees.
Home to 18 businesses — which cumulatively employ more than 1,200 people — the 380-acre industrial park is a North Country success story whose future is dependent on filling scores of existing and expected job vacancies.
To address what they believe is a universal concern within the industrial park, management at the Littleton Coin Co. came up with the idea of inviting the community inside, not just to fill immediate openings, but to see what makes their companies tick and great places to work now or in the future.
Joining the company in the Open House were Genfoot America Inc., New England Wire Technologies, Schwan’s Sales Enterprises, Secured Network Services and Tender Corp.
“Like the other companies (in the industrial park), we’re struggling to find qualified employees,” said Carol Stevens, who is the Littleton Coin Co.’s human resources director, “and we wanted to tell our story’”
The Open House let the company do both, she said, and it might also generate some job applications.
Poised on the cusp of its 75th anniversary, which it will celebrate in 2020, the Littleton Coin Co. has 270 employees, nearly all of them full-time, said Stevens. She said the average employee at the company, which became 100 percent employee owned on Jan. 1, 2017, has worked there 11.3 years on average, while its longest serving employee has 47 years on the job.
The company’s call center handles 300,000 incoming calls a year, and it is currently down 10 workers, said Stevens, while several more are required elsewhere.
With onsite Pilates and yoga classes and programs about estate planning, the Littleton Coin Co. is dedicated to its employee-owners, said Stevens.
“I’m very proud that employees cross departmental lines frequently,” Stevens said, adding that “80 percent of openings are filled internally.”
Stevens thinks the industrial park will host open houses more frequently, including next spring to appeal to recent high-school and college graduates.
At Genfoot, Mark Bonta, who is the plant manager, echoed Stevens in that his company, too, is down about a dozen employees.
Genfoot makes boots and outdoor footwear under the Kamik label. Its biggest client — and the reason Genfoot came to Littleton in 1993 — is Walmart.
Genfoot has a 20,000-square-foot-injection-molding factory in the industrial park and also rents 7,000 square feet of space nearby, where it has a sewing facility, Bonta said.
He hoped the open house would show prospective employees that Genfoot is not their grandfather’s or even father’s factory, pointing out that Genfoot is “much cleaner, much safer” than the Littleton factories of yore. It is also better-paying, and like Littleton Coin Co. is focused on the happiness and success of its employees.
In addition to being “recovery friendly,” Genfoot has what Bonta called a robust “workforce development program” that will train an employee with no skills to be able to eventually move, based on his or her aptitude and interest, into technical and/or management and leadership positions.