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Source: Beatrice Daily Sun

Encore Manufacturing in Beatrice, Nebraska reached a deal to sell all its assets to Worldlawn Power Equipment Inc., a Chinese firm which currently operates out of Industry, Calif.

The company will be moving its operation from California to Beatrice, a move that could eventually bring 40 jobs to Beatrice.

Encore founder Dick Tegtmeier said he's been negotiating with Worldlawn since December of 2008.

"Because of the banking institutions, the general economy and some other things that are out of control caused us to be short-handed on money, so we had to sell it," Tegtmeier said.

Tegtmeier said Worldlawn wanted to enhance its commercial line of lawn mowers and was interested in buying Encore. Worldlawn produces and markets various sizes of walk-behind and zero-turn radius mowers along with a line of two stage snow throwers.

Tegtmeier said he had to dismiss all employees at Encore, including himself, and said Worldlawn will begin to hire back as needed. Tegtmeier said the company plans to keep the Encore name but incorporate Worldlawn's brand into it.

Tegtmeier co-founded Exmark Manufacturing with three others in 1982. In 1988, he opened his own mower company, Encore Manufacturing.

To start Encore, Tegtmeier made a triangle from Beatrice to Milwaukee and then to New York to try and sell stock in the company.

Tegtmeier said selling Encore was a difficult decision, but he had no choice. Because of his loyal employees, Tegtmeier said he wouldn't sell Encore to anyone unless they kept it in Beatrice.

"It's a thing that had to be done because of the finances," Tegtmeier said. "Otherwise it's kind of a sad state. I had some very, very loyal employees. I certainly hated to see them lose their jobs, thus my criteria was it had to stay here. I had about 42 people interested in buying and then once I announced it had to stay in Beatrice, I lost about 45 percent overnight."

According to documents in the Register of Deeds office, the transaction for Encore Manufacturing was approximately $1.3 million.

Beatrice Chamber of Commerce President Lori Warner applauded Tegtmeier for his desire to keep the company in Beatrice.

"He didn't have to do that," Warner said. "He could have sold it to somebody else and let them take it out of Beatrice, but he was adamant on keeping it in Beatrice. And he wanted to, because he knew it was important to Beatrice."

Encore has been synonymous with the Tegtmeier name since its founding.

"Being in the industry since '66, it's hard to give up," Tegtmeier said. "And I didn't want to yet. But there comes a point of time when you've completed your circle and I've done it."

Tegtmeier said Encore once employed 42 people at its peak. Currently, the company employs two full-time workers and five part-time employees with no manufacturing taking place.

Encore service manager Billy Harms said Worldlawn officials have said they would like to eventually bring 40 jobs back to Encore.

Currently, there is no timeline on when the company will begin operation in Beatrice.

"It's kind of bittersweet," Harms said. "It's nice to see the company come back but it's hard to see an era end in working with Dick. We all hope it comes full circle and people get their jobs back. We could have all the former people back, but we know we have some contingency that we're going to have to work along with."

Warner said Encore has been a wonderful business that's been a stable in the community for over 20 years.

She said it's a big benefit for the community that the Tegtmeiers were able to make this sale happen.

"I've already heard that several people have left Los Angeles and were flying to Beatrice to look at renting a home," Warner said. "So we will get an influx of new people to our community because of this and hopefully several former employees will get their jobs back as well."

Warner said Beatrice has endured a tough year with the loss of Husqvarna Turf Care and it's nice to finally have some good news for the community.

"It just goes to show that we shouldn't give up hope," Warner said. "Positive things like this can happen, but it just takes a while. I think that this company being sold and jobs coming back is a wonderful story and it should provide hope that good things will happen in the future."