Candle plant closing in New Hampton - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Candle plant closing in New Hampton

NEW HAMPTON (KWWL) - Officials with SC Johnson announced its soy candle plant in New Hampton will shut down by July 1, 2014.

Employees at the New Hampton facility produce the "soy basics" line.

Company officials blame the soft sales in the specialty candle market for the closure.

A spokeswoman for the company issued the following statement:

"SC Johnson has been faced with the realities of soft sales in the specialty candle market. Since the economic crisis of 2008, more than 150,000 U.S. specialty boutique stores have closed. Unfortunately, the market for specialty candles has not rebounded.

We announced the decision today to close the Soy Basics plant with an understanding of the impact it will have on the 57 affected employees. We chose to provide a nearly six-month notice as the factory will close on July 1. Employees were informed today about the years-of-service-based severance package which includes a minimum of nine weeks pay, job training assistance, as well as continuing health benefits through the month of July. This is considered an above-market package for the industry.

SC Johnson will sell the facility and will try to bring in a new employer. SC Johnson has also donated $20,000 to the New Hampton Great Plays Daycare Center and $10,000 to the New Hampton United Fund.

As a family company, we will work with the community and employees in the most supportive way possible."

Meanwhile, city officials in New Hampton admit it's a challenge to lose a major employer, but they're looking at it as an opportunity to grow.

"Well look at this as an opportunity. There's going to be a nice building out there that's going to be available down the line," said New Hampton Mayor Bob Martin.

Economic Development Director for the City of New Hampton Tammy Robinson said she's optimistic about the possibility of bringing a new industry to the community.

"The leads that I get through the state tend to be companies that are looking for an existing building, and so I do believe that we will be able to move forward with this," said Robinson.

Local lawmakers also said they'll help find another business for the area and help displaced workers find jobs.
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