Soon after Stanley Black and Decker bought the well-known Craftsman brand from Sears Holdings last year, it embarked on what it says is a ground-up remake of the tool line.
It hopes to revitalize a name that had languished alongside the struggling department store.
Stanley has spent the past 18 months designing and making a new line of Craftsman products, the first 1,200 of which were unveiled Thursday during a launch event in the “Craftsmen Garage” at a business park in Middle River, Md.
The “garage” is being used to “bring Craftsman to life, here in Baltimore,” said Jeff Doehne, the general manager of the Craftsman brand, which will be managed out of the Towson, Md., headquarters of Stanley’s power tools and storage divisions.
The company says its designers aimed to keep the tools durable and affordable while making them more efficient and compatible with new technology.
A new line of battery packs are versatile enough to start a gas-powered lawn mower or snap on to a cordless impact driver.
Rows of bright red power tools, storage chests and outdoor equipment were on display in the space the company has used for about a year to give hands-on demonstrations to retail customers, investors, employees and others.
“Craftsman is a brand that’s had 90 years of history here in the U.S. and it has always stood for being good quality product at great value to the users,” Doehne said. “We’re going to continue to drive that with our next generation of Craftsman, but we’re introducing new technologies and new processes to the product to be very competitive in the marketplace.”
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The first wave of the new line will launch at this fall at Lowe’s and Ace hardware stores and be sold on Amazon in time for the holiday retail season. A limited number of products, more than 30, have been on the shelves since May at Lowe’s stores nationwide.
Craftsman sales have totaled about $30 million in its first three months.