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While one area business was announcing this week that its local plant could close as the business restructures, another was announcing plans for expansion.
Brooks Food Group, based out of Bedford, has closed its North Carolina plant and could do the same in Bedford. Meanwhile Mail America, based out of Forest, has announced plans to add 75 jobs over the next three years.
Brooks Food Group
According to a news release from Brooks Food Group, a major supplier of frozen specialty foods to multi-unit restaurant chains, the company “has recently encountered issues related to volatile commodity prices, competitive pricing pressures, and the loss of a major account.”
Those factors have resulted in liquidity issues, according to the news release and the company has engaged several advisers “to assist in formulating a recovery plan which includes bringing in investors orthe sale of the plant.”
“The company’s owners and management are distressed over the impact this downturn has had on employees, but are resolved to find a successful resolution,” the release from the company stated.
The company hopes to find a buyer for it and has been in talks with potential companies over the weekend, a spokesman said Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s never good if a plant closes,” stated Bedford City Manager Charles Kolakowski. “Our number one concern is the people who work there.”
Kolakowski was alerted to the move by Brooks Food Group over the holiday weekend.
“We’re concerned about the loss of jobs,” he said. “We can try and bring in resources form the state to assist.”
Kolakowski said the Brooks Food Group has been made aware those resources are available. Those state programs include helping people sign up for unemployment and to assist them in seeking employment elsewhere.
“At this point we’re lining up whatever we can for employees affected by this,” he said. “We’re obviously very concerned and looking at every possibility of what we can do.”
Earlier this month it was announced a Brooks Food Group plant in Monroe, N.C., was closing, affecting more than 100 workers there.
Representatives from Brooks Food Group weren’t immediately available for comment.
Mail America Com-munications Inc. has announced it will add 75 jobs and spend $5 million to expand its operations in Forest.
The expansion is an effort to meet customer demands in the direct mail advertising industry, according to a news release from the company.
Mail America will maintain its current facilities on Elkton Farm Road in Forest and, through a lease agreement, will immediately utilize 42,000 square feet of the vacant Gammapar facility located on Venture Drive in Forest for new production lines and offices.
Bedford County’s Office of Economic Development worked with the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission (TICRC), the Bedford County Economic Development Authority, and The Virginia Jobs Investment Program to provide grants and assistance toward the expansion totaling more than $210,000.
The Bedford County operation started in 1989 and now employs 325 full time employees. Mail America was selected as an expansion site for its holding company that has plans to double the local company sales in five years.
“Mail America’s decision to expand its operations in Bedford is another regional success story,” said Virginia Delegate Kathy Byron who serves on the Tobacco Commission and recently toured the Mail America facilities. “Our region continues to demonstrate that it is an ideal place for businesses to grow and to locate. The attributes we have here – reasonable taxes and regulations, a skilled and talented workforce, and welcoming state and local governments that are ready to work as partners – are instrumental to the success of firms like Mail America.”
Mail America produces nearly 400 million U.S. mail pieces annually for its national based clients. The new jobs to be added will include print and mail insertion operators, maintenance staff, and various office administration positions.