ALLENDALE COUNTY/McCORMICK COUNTY, S.C. (WJFB) — More than 200 people will be out of work following the closure of two Georgia-Pacific facilities in our area.
Georgia-Pacific announced that both plants will be closing due to the housing market.
“It’s not a good thing at all,” truck driver Marcus Koth tells NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk when asked about the closure.
The Allendale facility has been a vital part of the county for a number of years. The plant began producing strand board in 2006 and was acquired by Georgia-Pacific in 2010.
“Local loggers around here depend on that plant as an outlet for wood,” Koth adds.
Koth is one of those drivers who may have to find another place to sell their product – or face an uncertain future. He says he has a friend who works at the plant and is facing even more limited options than he does.
“Oh, yeah, she’s depending on that job,” he says.
According to a statement released by Georgia-Pacific Vice President of Building Products Operations, Satrick Anthony, the current state of the housing market and economy, in general, is affecting demand for the products manufactured at these facilities.
“Although new-home construction demand has returned somewhat since the recession in 2007/2008, it has not returned to pre-recession levels,” said Anthony in the statement. “We are very proud of the employees at these facilities; they have done everything they can to make the sites profitable – but unfortunately, it has not been enough to overcome the current market conditions.”
But that, in turn, could have a positive impact on your bottom line if you are looking to purchase a home.
“The prices are much lower than you would find similar properties in other communities because we really don’t have an active market,” says Wilbur Cave, Interim Executive Director of Allendale Alive.
Meanwhile, both facilities will be “idled” and maintained in a ready state to begin production just in case conditions change.
“I don’t think it should close down it may layoff for a while because housing could get back up and people could get better jobs,” says Fairfax resident Don Mixson.
Georgia-Pacific is still working on overall scheduling and will ship existing inventory during the next couple of months. The shipping department will continue to operate until each site’s inventory is depleted. All employees will be released at the end of production, except for those needed to manage inventory and maintain the sites.
The McCormick location employs 98 full-time employees and 142 in Allendale. The company plans to hold local job fairs to help with the job search.
“Maybe they can draw unemployment until things get better for them,” adds Mixson. All affected employees should be eligible for unemployment benefits.
“The company will ensure that all employees will be paid all earned wages and agreed-upon benefits at the time of their discharge,” according to a statement by Georgia-Pacific.
We’re told the company plans to hold local job fairs at each location to help employees with their job search – but for truckers like Marcus Koth, it’s time to find more options.
“It’s not going to be good. We are going to have to haul to other places now,” he says, eyeing the long road ahead.