Carpet yarn plant to close

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SYLVANIA, Ga. --- Sylvania Yarn Systems Inc. announced Wednesday afternoon that it will close its carpet yarn manufacturing plant by the end of the year, putting 150 full-time employees out of work and ending a 40-year history in Screven County.

The company cited "the severe recession that the carpet industry has experienced for over a year, and the subsequent reduction in customer order volume at its plant," the Sylvania Telephone reported Wednesday.

The company "plans an orderly wind-down of operations by year-end," it said in a news release. SYS avoided a similar fate in 1995, when employees organized to buy the plant from BASF and keep it open.

"We just weren't able to pull the rabbit out of the hat again," said Don Aaron, the president of the company. He has worked there 31 years.

The company notified city and county officials about the planned closing. It also contacted the Georgia Department of Labor and its State Rapid Response Team to coordinate on-site services for employees and help with job search efforts.

"We will also be coordinating with other employers throughout the region in an attempt to match the very capable people who will be displaced from our work force with all available openings," Mr. Aaron said.

"We regret the impact of this plant closing on our loyal and hard-working employees," said Harry Batty, the chief executive officer of SYS. "Our yarn products largely support manufacturers of commercial and residential carpeting. The customers of those firms have been severely impacted by the ongoing housing crisis, the downturn in the commercial real estate markets as well as the ongoing credit crisis. These factors have significantly reduced demand for our products."

Mayor Margaret Evans said the news is bad for the Sylvania community. "It saddens me because it has been a pillar of our community for so many years and provided wonderful jobs," she said. "It has meant so much for our community in so many ways."

Screven County Commission Chairman Stan Sheppard said the plant "will be sorely missed."


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