Presto’s defense down, housewares up in ‘19

National Presto Industries ended 2019 with lower sales than the prior year, but an increase in earnings, according to its recently released financial report.

Last year’s net sales were $308.5 million, a 4.6% drop from the $323.3 million from 2018.

Maryjo Cohen, president of the Eau Claire-based company, attributed the lower sales to shipment timing of the company’s defense products, which was partially offset by a 6% increase in housewares and small appliance sales.

Presto’s boost in its consumer goods was due to a key supplier returning to normal levels after flooding had impacted its ability to deliver merchandise for the 2018 holiday shopping season, according to a company news release.

Net earnings were up for the company, ending last year with $42.2 million in profit, compared to $39.4 million in 2018.

Based on the news release, most of that increase came from the settlement of a lawsuit involving the company’s discontinued absorbent products segment, which it had sold to Drylock Technologies in 2017.

Cohen expects the company will have a solid 2020 based on new housewares and small appliance products coming out as well as taking care of the defense segment backlog and anticipated contracts.

Luncheon will explain benefit that saves

for college

Adding a benefit to attract employees interested in saving money for their children’s college funds will be the subject of an upcoming luncheon in downtown Eau Claire.

The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce will host a presentation on Wisconsin’s 529 College Savings Program at noon on March 19 at its offices, 101 N. Farwell St.

Jessica Fandrich and Jim DiUlio of the state’s Department of Financial Institutions will explain how companies can offer their employees the ability to automatically route part of their paychecks into college savings accounts through Edvest. Using Edvest also doesn’t cost businesses and the program takes care of the administrative tasks involved in the automatic payroll deductions.

Attending the luncheon costs $20 for chamber members or $40 for nonmembers. Register online at

Short Takes

• A Thorp pork producer was elected last month to the board of directors for the Wisconsin Pork Association. Ryan Cain, general manager of Old Fashion Pork, was among the people named to three-year terms on the board during a Feb. 6 meeting.

• Eau Claire-based Charter Bank has named Mark Faanes to its board of directors. Faanes recently retired after 41 years as an accountant with Wipfli.

From staff reports