Cleaning products maker Fuller Brush Co., whose peripatetic salesmen were 20th century fixtures in middle American neighborhoods, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy less than two months after announcing it was going to be a landmark year.
The Great Bend, Kan.-based company listed as much as $50 million in assets and as much as $50 million in debt in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, according to Bloomberg. The reasons for the bankruptcy were not disclosed.
CPAC Inc., the private equity firm that owns Fuller Brush, also sought protection from creditors, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
The filings are a stark contrast from the image the company portrayed at the beginning of the year, when it underwent a Web site change and a new marketing campaign.
This is a landmark year for The Fuller Brush Company as we have devoted a significant amount of time and effort toward creating new strategies to better serve our customers, Vinnie D'Alleva, chief marketing officer of Fuller Brands, said in a company statement in early January. We've invested in new product development, expanded our retail offering, hired new talent and refreshed our branding to meet the needs of today's consumers.
The company was founded in 1906 by Alfred C. Fuller. At 21, after a $375 initial investment to launch the business, he began selling handmade brushes door to door, according to myfullerbrush.com. The company grew to a $1 million business in 1919.
The company successfully employed product placement when it was still a novel concept. Donald Duck and The Big Bad Wolf in The Three Little Pigs were portrayed by Walt Disney as Fuller Brush men, myfullerbrush.com said.
The company moved into its Great Bend headquarters in 1973.
Fuller Brush follows Kodak and Hostess, two other historic household names that filed for bankruptcy in 2012.