DENMARK -- One of Bamberg County's largest manufacturers has announced it is shutting down its local operations
DENMARK -- One of Bamberg County's largest manufacturers has announced it is shutting down its local operations.
Masonite International Corporation, a door maker, says it is closing its manufacturing plant in Denmark on July 31.
That will result in the loss of 110 full-time jobs, according to SouthernCarolina Regional Development Alliance Vice President of Marketing Kay Maxwell.
The plant, located at 1349 Locust Ave., also has a number of temporary employees. This number was not immediately known Thursday.
The temporary employees will be released immediately, Maxwell said.
An attempt to reach Masonite officials Thursday was unsuccessful.
"The local Masonite management team was informed by corporate around Feb. 15 that Masonite is decreasing its footprint on the East Coast due to reduced sales on the East Coast," Maxwell said. "The closure of the Denmark plant is one of the facilities that will be affected by this plan."
Masonite officials said local and state officials could do nothing to help keep the plant open, Maxwell said.
"There was nothing about the business environment or anything to do with Bamberg," she said. It was a corporate decision to consolidate manufacturing plants companywide.
Masonite officials have told the SouthernCarolina Alliance that all employees at the Denmark location have been offered severance packages and benefits, and the local managers will work with any employee who may receive job offers to release them early.
Maxwell said, "The State Rapid Response Team was scheduled to be onsite last Thursday (Feb. 21), and Masonite has engaged a training group to assist employees with resume and benefits applications."
According to a notice sent to Bamberg County Administrator Joey Preston from Masonite’s senior counsel, operations at the plant will be phased out starting this month.
The notice states employees will get paid through April 16, 2019 with declining levels of employees until July 31.
Masonite is also among the county's top eight employers.
Maxwell anticipates Orangeburg, Bamberg and Barnwell county residents will be the most impacted by the closing of Masonite, citing commuting figures from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
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According to DEW’s December numbers, about 528 people commuted from Orangeburg County into Bamberg County for work while 518 people commuted from Barnwell County into Bamberg County.
Bamberg County had a 5.9 percent unemployment rate in December, according to DEW.