Harrisville Dry Kiln Plant To Close, Nearly 30 Losing Jobs
The Harrisville Dry Kiln plant is closing at the end of the month and taking all of its jobs with it.
Approximately 30 people will be out of work, according to the plant's parent company Bestway Enterprises of Cortland.
Bestway spokesperson Andrew Porter said it was a "long and painful process," but the company decided to put the plant up for sale.
He said Bestway wants to concentrate on its core business, which is lumber treatment and distributing building products.
Porter said the last day of business will be July 31.
Employees were informed last Monday, he said.
Porter said all but a dozen workers were let go and the last day of production will be July 19.
Lewis County Legislator Phil Hathaway (R. - District 1) said lawmakers learned last week that the owners wanted out of the operation because it became too costly - specifically running the kiln, which operates using fuel oil.
Porter said costs, the downturn in the housing market and the overall state of New York's economy were factors in the company's decision to sell.
He said the company plans to sell the plant in tact and not remove any equipment.
Porter said a team from the Department of Labor will be meeting with workers this week to help them find new jobs.
An employee, who did not want to be identified, said the news is devastating.
"It's terrible, absolutely terrible," the worker said.
Jake Ritz used to work at the lumber mill and also says he's devastated by the news.
"It's a steady job and a solid job," he said, "and now it's gone."
"The guys that work there, your heart really goes out for them, because it's hard to find work anywhere in the north country."
The plant closure was discussed Monday during the meeting of the Lewis County Board of Legislators.
The owners are set to meet with state Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R. - 117th District) Blankenbush, economic development officials and county lawmakers this week.
According to the Bestway Enterprises web site, Harrisville Dry Kiln (HDK Wood Products) was established in 1999 as a planing mill and dry kiln for Eastern White Pine.
Bestway said it invested in sawmill equipment for HDK to become a fully functioning sawmill in the latter part of 2005.
In 2005, we reported that Harrisville Dry Kiln had 18 employees and added about 12 more as part of a $5 million expansion.