Natural Foods Merchandiser

Radius toothbrush factory heavily damaged

The Radius toothbrush factory in Kutztown, Pa., was hit by a 100-mph microburst July 16, which caused extensive damage to the building and machinery. A microburst is a high-force, straight-line wind that causes destruction similar to that of a tornado.

The 20-minute storm ripped trees from the ground and tore siding from buildings. Winds blew the roof off at the factory, knocked bricks from the west wall onto the second and third floors, caused a staircase to collapse and the first floor to cave in. Water flooded the entire building.

Radius, which makes sustainably produced toothbrushes, is headquartered in an 1863 mill building that had been restored by company founder Kevin Foley, who is an architect. He plans to restore the building once again.

"The factory restoration is going slowly but that is to be expected considering the age and historic nature of the building. Most of the internal lumber was cut from virgin oak 150 years ago and, in order to preserve the authenticity of the factory, we are having a certain amount re-cut," said company spokeswoman Saskia Foley. She added that any new bricks needed would be matched with the existing bricks.

In spite of the damage to the factory, retailers should not have a problem finding Radius products, Foley said, because most distributors have deep inventories.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 9/p. 22

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