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Guitar maker leaves Mundelein

Updated: April 1, 2012 8:10AM

A renowned guitar manufacturing company has moved its operations out of Mundelein.

Village officials confirmed that U.S. Music Corp., formerly known as Washburn International, had ceased operations at its Mundelein facility at 440 E. Courtland St.

U.S. Music Corp. is a subsidiary of Jam Industries, which acquired the business in 2009. The company is a manufacturer of Washburn guitars, amplifiers and other musical equipment.

Barry Ryan, president of U.S. Music Corp., said the company moved its manufacturing operations to a facility at 1000 Corporate Grove Drive in Buffalo Grove.

“We recently moved into a smaller facility to meet our needs. It (Mundelein spot) was just too large,” he said.

Ryan said they looked at a number of locations in the Mundelein area but were unable to find a facility of the right size.

“There was no desire to leave Mundelein. It was just a matter of where we could find the most suitable location and we looked all over,” he said.

Ryan said the company started the move from the Mundelein facility on Feb. 17 and were expected to complete it this week.

He said about 60 employees worked at the Mundelein facility and those employees’ position will be relocated to the new facility in Buffalo Grove.

Victor Barrera, director of planning and development for Mundelein, said he learned that Jam Industries did not renew its lease on the property.

“I know that they had looked at a number of locations in Mundelein, but apparently it did not work out for them,” he said.

Barrera said he’s disappointed the company was not able to continue operations in Mundelein.

“It’s always disappointing to see a long-time established business in the community go,” he said. “It’s especially sad to see them take jobs out of the community.”

Barrera said Jam Industries was leasing the building, which is under different ownership. The village is working with the building owners to try to get the property redeveloped.

“We’ve been working with the owners who have had preliminary discussions with the village about some potential redevelopment opportunities for that property,” he said.

The company has designed guitars for everyone from Dolly Parton to the late Beatle, George Harrison. Washburn Guitar was founded in Chicago in 1883 and in December 1999, came to Mundelein, consolidating its manufacturing, office and warehouse divisions in the former Decorel Corp., facility.

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