PLATTSBURGH — Intrapac International, LLC will be closing its Plattsburgh production location.

“Intrapac International LLC announced that after 54 years in operation it will be closing the facility at 4 Plant St. in Plattsburgh,” an official statement from the plastics production company said.

“Plattsburgh will be ramping down operations over the next 30 to 45 days and moving production to our Mebane, N.C. operations.”

Fifteen-year employee Joe Coulombe, 48, of Plattsburgh, said that the staff was surprised to hear of the impending closure at a 7 a.m. meeting Thursday morning.

“It was kind of shocking,” Coulombe said.

“I was kind of numb, but because it’s all investment groups buying these factories, it’s something in the back of your mind that could happen. They’re always looking for ways to make things more profitable, and one way to do that is cut employees.”

Coulombe said that he would be one of the roughly 30 employees that would be staying on to decommission the plant.

Plant Manager Larry Brand added that the remaining employees would finish up the existing production orders on the docket before decommissioning the location.

“The leadership team recognizes that the change will have a significant impact on the 90 dedicated employees and their families,” the company’s statement said.

“We’re offering transition services to aid them in their job search.”

MOVING FORWARD

On top of that, Brand said that he had been inundated with calls from local manufacturers Thursday morning, asking to send employees their way.

“To hear that there’s that much interest makes me feel good as a manager,” Brand, who is also losing his job, said.

President and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce Garry Douglas said that the chamber and Intrapac are jointly working to organize transition support for the company’s employees, including special workshops that will be set up at the chamber’s upcoming Sept. 25 fall job fair.

“They will have access to more than 50 employers seeking, in many cases, the sort of manufacturing related skills and experience these people have to offer,” Douglas said.

Douglas reflected on the unfortunate realities of closures like this, but reinforced that the chamber is always working toward growth.

“Even in strong economic years, there will be decisions for various reasons by large companies to close or downsize in some cases,” Douglas said.

“As economic developers, all we can do is work steadily to bring new things in and to facilitate growth.”

City of Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read shared Douglas’ hopes that the local businesses will take on the employees who have lost their jobs.

“While Intrapac’s skilled local employees will certainly be absorbed into all the manufacturing in the adjacent Moldrite facility and in the abundance of manufacturing in the Town of Plattsburgh, such transitions are always difficult,” Read said.

Read also thanked Intrapac for its decades of “devotion to our city,” and that the city stands ready to do whatever it can to help the former Intrapac employees.

LONG-TERM GROWTH

The company’s statement added that the closure will have no adverse effect on production and would “improve (the company’s) market competitiveness and better position its jar and closure business for long term growth.”

For the employees that have dedicated significant portions of their lives to the Plattsburgh plant, though, the closure meant some tearful goodbyes.

“You’ve been working with some of these people for 15 years, and this is probably the last we’ll see of each other,” Coulombe said. “There were a lot of hugs and tears in the parking lot.”

More details will be added to this report.

Email Ben Watson:

bwatson@pressrepublican.com

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