Propex closing

Published 2:26 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Propex’s Bainbridge plant will close by the end of October and the facility will cease operations, a news release announced Tuesday.

The 50 full-time employees will receive severance pay as well as other assistance from the Department of Labor.

“This closing in no way reflects on the work or safety performance of these teammates,” the release said. “It is instead based on the strategic direction that Propex has elected to take as a company.”

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The closing is due to what the company said was a reduction in demand for secondary carpet backing, so the secondary carpet backing manufacturing has been consolidated with another Propex facility in Hazlehurst, Ga.

In July 2009, Propex reduced its staff from 200 to 50.

The plant and the equipment inside it are owned by Propex, which purchased the plant from BP, which in turn purchased the plant from Amoco.

The carpet business in Bainbridge was at its height during the 1980s when more than 2,100 employees were working for Amoco. Amoco had purchased the business from Patchogue in 1973.

Propex’s closing follows the closing of TRACO in March 2009 and American Fibers and Yarns in September 2008.

American Fibers and Yarns’ had filed for bankruptcy in 2008, forcing the laying off of approximately 250 employees.

Meredian, a sister company of DaniMer Scientific LLC, is presently leasing the old American Fibers and Yarns building from the Bainbridge-Decatur County Development Authority.

TRACO, a window-building plant that arrived in Bainbridge in 2006 and was leasing the old speculative building at the Decatur County Industrial Park from the Development Authority, presently has the building on the market for $4.1 million.

The unemployment rate in Decatur County is presently 14.1 percent, which is approximately 1.3 percent more than last year’s rate.