TRACO suspends operations

Published 3:57 pm Monday, March 9, 2009

TRACO announced Monday it will suspend operations at the Bainbridge plant and idle the facility.

In a news release, the company said the step was necessary “due to the continued downturn in the new construction and residential markets in the Southeast,” said Matt Cribari, chief operating officer with the Cranberry Township, Pa., company.

“Products manufactured at this facility were directly affected by the drastic reductions in new home and light commercial construction. In the interim, these products will be produced in the TRACO Johnson City, Tenn., plant,” the news released said.

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Rick McCaskill, executive director of the Bainbridge-Decatur County Development Authority, said the plant will be idle in about 30 to 45 days, and a handful of people will remain at the plant.

Last November, the company announced it had cut its production from three lines to two lines and cut its workforce to a point of having 70 employees. The plant at one time had approximately 200 employees.

Also, TRACO’s announcement comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that Decatur County’s unemployment climbed up to 11.3 percent at the end of January.

“It’s not unexpected considering the industry they were tied in with, which is taking it on the chin,” McCaskill said.

McCaskill and a company spokesperson had said the company is not abandoning Decatur County.

“They were very happy with the workforce they had here,” McCaskill said.

“We feel that when the economy bounces back, they will be back,” he said.

When TRACO came

TRACO rebuilt the Development Authority’s spec building on U.S. 27 North in 2006-2007 as part of an agreement with the company and the Bainbridge-Decatur County Development Authority.

TRACO’s arrival in Bainbridge came in June 2006 with a memorandum of understanding between it and the authority, which TRACO said the company would provide no less than 200 full-time jobs by two years and have at least 300 within 36 months.

At the time, estimates were that the annual payroll for Decatur County would be $4.5 million once fully operational.

TRACO spent millions basically rebuilding the old spec building, and the company will continue to lease it, which includes 27.89 acres. The company is under a 10-year lease agreement with the authority.