Fuller Brush files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Fuller Brush, which sells personal care and household cleaning products directly and through retailers such as Home Depot, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, the Associated Press reported.

“The filing was a necessary means to effectuate a reorganization of the company in an effort to return the company to profitability and restructure its balance sheet,” Chief Restructuring Officer Lawrence Perkins said today, according to Bloomberg News.

The Great Bend, Kan.-based company said it would cut operating costs and discontinue some unprofitable products, the AP reported. Fuller Brush currently has 180 full-time employees and an independent sales force of about 10,000, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Less than two months ago, the company announced it had “completely rebooted itself,” Bloomberg News reported. It introduced new kitchen and bathroom cleaners, added distribution channels and launched an updated website.

Nova Scotia-born salesman Alfred C. Fuller started the company in 1906 to sell his brushes door to door, according to Bloomberg News. The Fuller Brush salesman became an iconic job in comic strips like Blondie as well as cartoons, with both Donald Duck and the Big Bad Wolf appearing as Fuller Brush men. There was even a 1948 film called “The Fuller Brush Man,” starring comedic actor Red Skelton.

While Fuller Brush was once a beloved brand, "over time we've fallen off the map a little," Perkins told the Wall Street Journal.

The company said it would operate normally while in Chapter 11, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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