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A Lancaster business that became internationally known for its easy-to-use painting tools is closing its doors after 48 years.

Shur-Line will let all 81 employees go at the end of April. EZ Paintr Corp. acquired Shur-Line last February and will manufacture the company's products at its plant in St. Francis, Wis.

Employees will get assistance finding a new job and severance pay that varies according to how long they have been with Shur-Line.

"We have duplicate manufacturing operations," said Joseph S. Ketter, vice president of human resources for EZ Paintr, a wholly owned subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid.

In a letter to Shur-Line employees, Ketter wrote, "The competitive nature of the paint applicator business, coupled with recent retail consolidations, has required us to implement extreme cost-reduction measures to remain competitive."

Among those measures is consolidating all of the company's paint-roller manufacturing in St. Francis and moving all of its brush-making activities to Johnson City, Tenn. Previously, each plant made both rollers and brushes.

The state tried to keep the manufacturing business in New York by giving it low-cost electricity through the state's Power for Jobs program. It began receiving the cut rate power in August, said Michael Saltzman, spokesman for the state Power Authority.

Shur-Line began in 1953 with a two-wheel paint edger invented by Fred J. Wood Jr. He started the company with the help of a few family members in Depew. Four years later, he moved his growing business to West Drullard Avenue in Lancaster.

By 1983, it became evident that growing company needed more room. Beginning in 1984, Shur-Line built a new 64,000 square-foot facility on 7.5 acres in the Lancaster Village Industrial Park.

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