Montgomery area is losing another major employer.
Butterball LLC announced May 18 it will close its meatpacking plant at 2125 Rochester Drive in
The plant currently employees around 600 people.
The Butterball news comes on the heels of Caterpillar, Inc. announcing this spring it plans to shut down all production at its Aurora plant on Route 30 sometime next year, resulting in the loss of 800 jobs.
Butterball said it will be slowing phasing out production at the plant by mid-July.
The company said in a released statement the decision to close the plant was made based on “customer needs” and changing “market conditions.”
Village President Matt Brolley said the news came as a shock.
Butterball moved into the Montgomery facility in 2013 after purchasing the site from the family-owned Gusto Packing Company in 2012. The company subsequently made improvements and expansions to the plant in no small part due to a 10-year, $1.5 million low interest loan to the company from the village’s Revolving Fund. The loan was used to purchase necessary equipment to expand.
“Gusto Packing was a long-time, family owned business and when Butterball purchased the plant and made improvements, we anticipated that they would be operating their business here for many years to come,” Brolley said.
The expansion increased employment by 15 percent as the company invested approximately $24 million at the site.
“The employees have been very loyal to this facility for a long time, and the sudden closure comes as a shock to them and to us,” Brolley said.
The village will make sure the economic development loan made to Butterball is repaid before the facility closes, he said, adding the village will do everything it can for the employees affected by this and it is investigating specific ways to provide assistance and support.
Village Administrator Jeff Zoephel said a Butterball official contacted Brolley on Thursday to break the news. He said the sudden closure will not only affect Montgomery residents, but residents around the region.
“As far as things like water revenue and utility taxes, that will affect Montgomery specifically, but employment issues will be felt regionally, along with Caterpillar’s move,” he said.
Caterpillar and Butterball were among the top employers in Montgomery, providing work for the most people.
“We don’t have any other company out there that can hire that many people,” Zoephel said. “That’s our biggest concern.”
Butterball has indicated that it is in the process of finding a broker to market the property.
“It’s probably best suited for another manufacturing function of some sort,” Zoephel said. “We just got the news yesterday so we haven’t had time to investigate options. We’re still trying to figure it all out and come up with a plan.”
At the time of of the expansion, Brolley said, “Montgomery has a very strong manufacturing core, houses a strong workforce and boasts premier access to various modes of transportation. I believe that this project will serve as a catalyst for industrial growth that will launch a new era of business in our community. On behalf of the Village Board and community, I want to thank Butterball, LLC for the confidence that they have shown in our community. We are thrilled that they have chosen to make this investment in Montgomery.”
–Montgomery area to lose more jobs as Butterball to close plant —