Wrens plant closing; 120 to lose jobs

Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 7:01 PM
Last updated 9:47 PM
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WRENS, Ga. -- At shift change Thursday morning, around 120 employees of Glit/Microtron were told that the Wrens plant will be closing in 60 days.

“This plant has had economic difficulties for quite a while,” said Bryan Brown, Glit’s director of manufacturing, who has been at the plant for nearly four years. “We have tried a lot of different things to turn this around. We’ve had a lot of support from the local community. Tom (Jordan, Jefferson County’s economic developer) has been a big part of that as has the local college (Oconee Fall Line Tech, formerly Sandersville Tech). We were able to do a lot of good things in this facility. But as far as making money, we just haven’t been able to get to that point.”

According to Brown, the business was moved to Wrens in 1978 and its primary product lines include coated abrasives, sand screen and scrubbing pads, a large portion of which are used in the floor care industry.

“I think the official word is the economy,” Brown said. “Basically the capability has grown and the volume has dropped. We have a wide range of products. Unfortunately, probably the biggest product line is the floor pads and that’s the biggest problem as far as cost. There are a lot of people world-wide in that portion of the business.

“They’re (Katy Industries, Glit’s owners) getting out of this part of the floor care business which is the main part of what this plant does.”

For the last year and a half employees have seen potential buyers tour the facility. Brown said that while he feels everyone at the plant knew this was a possibility, they were all hoping a buyer would be found.

“We’ve been trying to get the business and basically the operations in a good form to be able to sell the facility,” Brown said. “We created a value here. And we’ve tried to sell over the last year and a half. I would say it has been accelerated over the last six months. We just haven’t been able to secure a buyer. It comes to a point where they are no longer going to fund the losses of the facility.”

The 60-day notice will give the plant time to fill its last orders, help transition customers to other providers as well as give the company time to work with state agencies on arranging severance packages and other services for employees. Some have has much as 30 years service with the company.

“We have people who started here as teenagers and dedicated their whole lives, years later they’re still here,” Brown said. “Obviously we want to take care of those people with a seniority-based severance.”

Jordan said this closure comes as a blow to a struggling county like Jefferson, which is currently considered ninth from the worst economically blighted county in Georgia by the Department of Community Affairs. However, PyraMax Ceramics, a manufacturing plant whose construction is nearing completion just four miles south of Wrens, will be looking to fill around 50 positions in the next three months.

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OpenCurtain 01/24/13 - 08:17 pm

Which cannot be protected from China, because they own over 25% of the USA DEBT IN BONDS.

allhans 01/24/13 - 11:22 pm
What a shame. It has only

What a shame. It has only just begun....

scoopdedoop64 01/25/13 - 12:54 am
Thanks Obama

People could not get it at all. They bought into his lies time after time never holding him accountable while the media fawned over him and never asked him any hard questions. I understood the first time he was voted in. People were tired of Bush and the war and here is this Black man equated to be the messiah. Yeah we understood but then comes around for a second time and we tried to tell people how he was going to raise their taxes and kill jobs. But did anyone listen, NO! So now its happening...our checks are smaller, groceries are higher and plants are shutting down. You can't keep taking from the rich to feed the poor and expect that they can keep their businesses open. And don't even get me started on taking away our guns so we can't protect ourselves. It is so sad that the first black president had to ruin our nation and bring us down. We could have had a conservative black president and what a legacy he could have left.

bumblebeerose 01/25/13 - 04:33 am
This is my summary

Open Curtain,
Yes you are right about the products being made in China or any where else outside of the USA are cheaper for the companies making them not the consumer. They still cost us the same thing to buy that part has not changed. You can blame that on our "Government and Corporate Greed" CEO's wanting bigger bonuses and the Government not caring that it hurt the American worker.
For those that have never worked in manufacturing have no idea what it means to feel the Pride when a finished product leaves the factory with Made in USA on it. I do I have worked in manufacturing and loved to see those words on our finished product. I lost that in 2009 when my company was sold to China. Todays generation is not our Grandparents generation where you took Pride in the work you did and it was made here where you lived and buying that product you supported this country and your fellow neighbors.

It is a shame and you are right it is not going to stop there. It will only stop when we as Americans say we are tired of the way things are and some how ban together to force change out the manufactures going to China or other cheaper countries.

You are right as well. Nobody wants to here the truth any more. Lets just sugarcoat everything and sooner or later it will all go away. You and I know it does not go away it just gets worse and worse. As long as we sweep it under the rug or sugarcoat you do not have to face the truth. Well guess what the truth hurts for just a little while sugarcoating hurts for a long time. Lets see how long it takes for the sticky stuff to go away and the truth to emerge because when it finally does this country is going to be broker than what we are now.
Sorry if this hurts any ones feelings do not mean to.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 01/25/13 - 10:56 am
Interesting Thought

Did Jefferson County go for Obama or Romney in 2012?

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 01/25/13 - 11:02 am
Sec. of State

Hey, I answered my own question. The Georgia Secretary of State has a nifty web site that has county by county totals.

Jefferson County voted for Barak Obama 58% to 41% for Romney.

So, I guess you reap what you sow.

soapy_725 01/25/13 - 11:39 am
120 Glit employees....

and how many non Glit support and maintenance jobs. All manufacturing has gone to contractors to save cost already. These lost jobs are never included in closings. Some plants have more contractors that "employees".

seenitB4 01/25/13 - 12:54 pm
Sad news for this small town...

Bumble is 100% right on the money..he said..

It will only stop when we as Americans say we are tired of the way things are and some how ban together to force change out the manufactures going to China or other cheaper countries.

We need to STOP boohooing & fix this dang problem ..STOP buying products made elsewhere....BOTh sides of congress are to blame.stop with nonesense thinking & BUY AMERICAN...

GuyGene 09/10/15 - 08:25 am
I hope it's not too late...

...just TRY to not buy Hecho en Chine. I read labels on everything we buy. It's almost impossible to find things NOT made in Chine.

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