Business developers eye DJO site

Business developers eye DJO site

January 19th, 2010 by Mike Pare in Business

A Chattanooga business that traces its origins to the end of World War II is expected to close by the end of March, though economic developers already are marketing its two buildings to other companies.

Plans are for medical devices maker DJO Chattanooga, long known as Chattanooga Group, to be out of its Adams Road facilities within 45 days, said Mark Francois, a spokesman for Vista, Calif.-based parent DJO Inc.

"At that time, all our manufacturing would have moved to various locations," primarily in Mexico, he said.

THROUGH THE YEARS

1947 -- Businessman Jack Walker buys Chattanooga Pharmacal. The company's only product, the Hydrocollator Steam Pack, was being manufactured in a kitchen.

1949 -- Company introduces companion product, the Hydrocollator Colpac, as manufacturing shifts to a more traditional venue.

1994 -- Manufacturing capacity expanded by 110,000 square feet.

1996 -- Chattanooga Group was a provider of physical therapy equipment for the 1996 Olympic Games.

2002 -- Chattanooga Group purchased by orthopedics producer Encore from McNeil Trust.

2007 -- Encore, now called ReAble Therapeutics, bought by private equity firm The Blackstone Group and merged into DJO Inc.

Distribution and customer service operations will have shifted to various locations in other parts of the United States, Mr. Francois said.

The business, which employed 300, announced last June it would wind down the Chattanooga facility as the parent firm streamlines operations.

J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of marketing, said it already has shown DJO's facilities to prospective buyers.

He said losing a legacy company such as DJO is why the Chamber's comprehensive approach to economic development is essential.

"We must continuously strive to keep and grow our own companies while recruiting new ones to ensure that we have a vibrant and diverse economy," Mr. Marston said. "Our goal is to continuously foster the creation of new jobs and new economic opportunities, so that there are always other employment options when an individual business closes for reasons beyond our local control."