National Marker to close operations in North Smithfield

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – It’s been repeatedly named among Rhode Island’s best places to work, and has been one of North Smithfield’s largest taxpayers for decades.

But soon, National Marker Company will be permanently closing the doors of its headquarters at 100 Providence Pike.

First opened in 1934 in Pawtucket as a fire warning sign screen printer, the business expanded to a larger location in North Smithfield in 1999. Town resident Michael Black purchased the company in 2012, reportedly turning down a lucrative payout at the time in hopes to save jobs and continue growth.

Under Black’s leadership, the business, which has primarily produced workplace safety identification products, grew to employ around 100 workers, and was named as one of Rhode Island’s Best Places to Work by Providence Business News for four consecutive years. It was also recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2020 for Rhode Island & New England Small Business Manufacturer.

The business was also known for supporting many town charities, earning Black a citation from the North Smithfield Town Council in 2021.

Black sold the company that year to Illinois-based Justrite Safety Group, and it has since done business under the name Accuform NMC. This month, Accuform notified the state of plans to lay off 36 North Smithfield employees.

NRI NOW has learned the layoffs are part of a larger plan to close the town location. Staff confirmed on Tuesday, May 21 that all Rhode Island operations will be shutting down, with the larger company to continue operating in Florida.

A representation from Justrite Safety could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to the town’s 2023 tax database, the business’s property was assessed at $282,410, for an annual tax payment of more than $12,000. Real estate was assessed separately at $1,601,200 under the name 100 Providence Pike, LLC for a tax bill of $31,061.

Editor’s note: The above article has been edited to include the additional tax for real estate.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Not surprised… investment firm buys company and reduces footprint to make it attractive for resale. Cares nothing about employees or community, JUST the bottom line. BTW, those so-called “less expensive states” provide crappy services for their citizens and crappy salaries for their public servants, for example teachers.

  2. Ok having lived throught this type of thing twice and having a wife who for 35 year worked for AT Cross it sucks5 that the state doesn’t do more to protect it work force I ask why? The coffers eventually will be full of Cobb webs as there won’t be any work.
    To see once great company’s fail due to greed of investment firms and a bottom that for a short time looks good but only to leave distraction in it wake so sad

  3. This isn’t a RI tax thing, it’s a Boston-based private equity firm milking every bit of profit and margin out of a once great business before they sell it……and those people in FL will one day face a similar fate. Letting go of 36 people looks great on the books for the next owner.

  4. Classic.

    Buy a competitor, consolidate operations elsewhere, close the doors. How many Rhode Island companies have had the same fate?

    • Or the question is how many companies have relocated and or consolidated businesses OUT of high tax states such as California, Illinios, Massachusetts, New York and RI INTO states like Texas, Florida, North Carolina and so on.

      Maybe these high tax states are taking the migrants in due to population losses as people are fleeing these states as well. If they don’t maintain their population, they lose representation at the federal level.

      • Boy you always tell who’s a republican these days, haul out the illegal immigrant card and blame Biden for everything!

        • So if the company had locations in Florida and Rhode Island, why didn’t they chose to close the Florida site and move to RI?

          • I can answer that as I actually have first hand knowledge of this. But I first must preface this by saying, in NO way shape or form am I defending the decision to close the RI facility. It sickens and disgusts me for various reasons. However, the reason has nothing to do with what state they are in. The truth of the matter is the Florida facility is a much larger facility and has more capabilities. This has nothing to do with the personnel. Also, the amount of business that flows through the Florida facility is significantly more than the RI facility. If it were reverse, where the RI facility was much larger, more equipped, and handled the bulk of the business, it would be the FL location that closed. This is not speculation on my part either. But I do feel obligated to repeat my stance, that while I understand why one plant was chosen over the other, I 100000% DISAGREE with the decision to close any plant. Closing one location is a different topic than which plant to close.

            • Not being in the know, why does more business flow through the Florida facility and why is that a larger operation compared to NS?

              • The Florida company and the Rhode Island company were two competing companies for many years. The Florida company (known as Accuform) had a significantly larger market share than the Rhode Island company (known as NMC). The Florida company was sold in 2018 to a company called JustRite. Then in 2021, JustRite also purchased the Rhode Island company. Once the Rhode Island company fell under the same umbrella as the Florida company, they became sister companies and no longer competed. The original plan was to merge the two companies together and have both facilities manufacture products. When the decision was made to just go with one manufacturing facility, it made more “sense” to keep the location that had the bulk of the business.

    • $12,000 in business property tangible tax ie. Computers, desks etc. $31,061 in real estate tax for a total tax payment to the town of $43,061. Taxation is theft!

    • Many people lost their jobs & that’s all you focused on? But since you mentioned it… the roof was covered in solar panels. My guess is there were tax breaks because of that. Production ran quite efficiently.

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