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Southeastern Container to close

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Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013 4:00 pm

Southeastern Container (SEC) announced today that it is closing its Beloit plant in May. Doug Wehrkamp, president of SEC, sited over-capacity production as the reason for the closure.

Wehrkamp said advances in technology has allowed SEC customers to use on-site machines to meet their demand, changing the company’s manufacturing footprint and causing over-production in all SEC plants.

The company opened in 2007 north of the Gateway Business Park, at 1630 Apex Drive.

Operations will transfer to the Bowling Green, Ohio or Effingham, Ill. plants between April 29 and May 12. In a letter to employees the company said about 10 openings were available in Effingham and eight openings in Bowling Green. Layoffs will begin starting on April 29, according to the letter.

Beloit City Manager Larry Arft said the city was notified this morning of the decision to close the plant. However, the city knew SEC was working on consolidating its operations in Effingham, and was working with the company for a few months offering incentives to keep the Beloit plant open, Arft said.

“We’re obviously very disappointed to hear this,” he said. “We’ll be working closely with the company and try to get another use for this facility as quickly as possible.”

Arft said the city was surprised to receive the news due to the fact that the Beloit plant is newer and still in excellent condition.

Andrew Janke, executive director for the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation, said the plant employs about 52 workers.

The city offered to increase property tax rebates from $60,000 to $150,000 per year as well as add two years onto the agreement to run through 2021, Janke said. Talks about the consolidation started in early December, and SEC said if the plant were to stay open it would have added about 12 positions, Janke said.

In the letter to employees, SEC said workers who do not transfer to the other plants will receive two weeks severance pay for every year they have worked with the company, with a minimum of eight weeks pay.

The 244,000-square-foot plant is mainly responsible for creating plastic bottles for water and soft drinks. When the company opened the Beloit plant it took all of the Effingham customers in the northern region.

SEC has a contract with Coca-Cola and makes bottles between 8 ounces and 2 liters. The plant has three machines that work continuously in 12-hour shifts. One machine makes about 40,000 bottles per hour.

The plant ships products to Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Bismarck, N.D., Rapid City, S.D. and Sioux City, Iowa. The plant had the capacity to increase to 700,000 square-feet and add 85 jobs.

The company is headquartered in Enka, N.C. and is privately owned.

Calls to Southeastern Container General Manage in Beloit Bill Bock were not returned this morning before deadline.

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7 comments:

  • 1badbubyu posted at 2:29 pm on Sat, Mar 2, 2013.

    1badbubyu Posts: 1313

    You cannot argue with technology reducing the number of jobs. But you certainly spin it into political rhetoric!!...[lol]

     
  • Blah-de-Blah posted at 1:19 pm on Fri, Mar 1, 2013.

    Blah-de-Blah Posts: 140

    Pearl does bring up a good point. There's no point in attacking the school district over the loss of a business. If they are, for some odd circumstance, a reason, they are not the entire reason. The new referendum was said to create incentive to attract businesses, but they are not responsible for going out and asking people to invest in Beloit. As I had said before, it is the duty of the local government to attract and retain businesses in the area after the state government brings them in. If it was not for the reason that bad brought up, a majority of the blame would lie with the city council.

    Bad brings up the greatest reason to why this has happened. Technology has been rapidly advancing for many years, and it has been responsible for the advance, change, degradation or collapse of large industries. Look at the Green Bay area. Green Bay used to be the paper empire of Wisconsin. You went there, and there were massive storage yards filled with logs and timber ready to be turned into paper. What happened to this empire? The computer was invented, and paper fell. You go to Green Bay now and you will see empty railroad yards all over the area, beginning to fill with overgrowth. Most likely, 100 years from now, oil and coal companies will probably be history as well, due to efficient advances in energy technologies.

    Don't blame the school district, and don't blame Walker for this. Blame technology and its advance.

     
  • 1badbubyu posted at 6:51 am on Fri, Mar 1, 2013.

    1badbubyu Posts: 1313

    As usual cynicaleye is clueless. This company is closing because technology has advanced to the point where SE Container no longer has certain accounts. Like the article says, much of the product can now be manufactured on-site instead of ordering from a company.

    Of course this will all be blamed on Gov. Walker by the local progressives. Regardless of what the companies higher ups tell the press.

     
  • pearl posted at 6:15 pm on Thu, Feb 28, 2013.

    pearl Posts: 1

    Really? This is a story about 52 workers recently losing their jobs and all you can do is poke insults at SDB's superintendent? Geez! Help me understand the connection.

     
  • cynicaleye posted at 5:19 pm on Thu, Feb 28, 2013.

    cynicaleye Posts: 543

    But I thought "Wisconsin is Open for Business"? Where is the story about Wisconsin leading the nation in sending jobs out of state?

     
  • FaceTheFacts posted at 4:49 pm on Thu, Feb 28, 2013.

    FaceTheFacts Posts: 327

    JS Agreed !! Don' t they know what they'll be missing out on? The flood of people wanting to come here for the new schools!! OH WAIT, people that "want to work" need to have a job..

    Maybe McNeal should be in charge of retaining employers?

     
  • js20094 posted at 4:26 pm on Thu, Feb 28, 2013.

    js20094 Posts: 1191

    Maybe they should have pitched them the new pool and the school to stay.

     

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