February 23, 2012- Most adults can remember being home as a child when the doorbell rang and a Fuller Brush salesman came to the door. The door-to-door salesman the company employed became a business icon. However, the company has struggled since being taken over by Buckingham Capital Partners, a private-equity firm five years ago. On Tuesday, Fuller Brush Co. officially filed for bankruptcy.
The maker of cleaning products, whose sales force has been depicted on television, movie and even in cartoons, said it filed for Chapter 11 to eliminate products that are less profitable and lower its operating costs in a hope to return to making a profit.
The company employs over 180 employees on a full-time basis and has another 10,000 salespeople who are independent. Even though it still sells its products direct to consumers, other avenues such as distribution through larger retailers and online sales have become more significant in recent years.
Fuller Brush dates back to 1906 and has a long list of products it has sold during its more than 100 years in business. Lawrence Perkins, the chief restructuring officer for the company said, “We have fallen off the map as time has gone on.”
He added, “We have not stayed on top of certain thing we should have.”
Perkins said the company’s commercial division has been successful and he called its custom brush division one of the world’s best.
Tuesday’s bankruptcy filing followed last month’s company makeover that included a new site on the internet and new products. The company had announced that 2012 would be a landmark year.