Caraustar Industries to close

Published 11:14 am Saturday, April 10, 2010

FRANKLIN—Twelve full-time employees for Caraustar Industries on Friday got the news they were expecting.

The Route 58 plant east of Franklin, whose primary client is International Paper, is closing. Most of the jobs were in production and paid $14 to $15 an hour plus benefits.

“This is no surprise to them,” said Frank Snyder, human resource director for Caraustar.

Located in Franklin since 1990, Caraustar makes paperboard tubes used in manufacturing processes, including paper mills. Sixty percent of the local plant’s product was produced for International Paper, which in October announced it would close this spring, eliminating 1,100 jobs.

Phillip Bradshaw, chairman of the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors, wasn’t surprised with Friday’s news.

“I had already suspected it as soon as IP announced its closure,” Bradshaw said. “They built there in 1990 specifically for IP.”

Caraustar wants to sell its 30,000-square-foot building.

“That building can be used for any small- to medium-size business,” Bradshaw said. “It’s in an excellent location, right at the airport and adjacent to two rail-lines. We’ll make sure that the state markets it as part of its regional (economic recovery) efforts.”

Snyder did not know what would be the final day of production, but believes it will coincide with IP’s final day. IP has announced it would shut down its final two paper machines on Thursday, April 15.

“We’re going to continue running until the mill is no longer running,” he said. “We won’t be too far behind that, maybe a week.”

Caraustar employees may have opportunities to work for other plants within the company.

“I’ve had some discussions with folks already this morning, but quite honestly, for most of the folks, there is not a willingness to relocate,” Snyder said.

Some of the employees losing jobs have been there since Caraustar opened in Franklin.

“We’ve had good, solid, loyal, hard-working folks,” he said.