What seemed like a sure thing for the area now, not so much.
“I think the employees were completely blind-sided. They never expected this. Two or three weeks ago corporate with Worthington had come to Florence to discuss possible expansion,” said Mary Kelley with Florence County Economic Development.
Florence County Economic Development says they too were floored by the news earlier this week when Worthington Industries announced it will close its Florence facility.
Altogether over 550 jobs trimmed company-wide, due to what they say is slowdown in the oil and gas industry.
It includes the over 300 jobs that will be lost alone in Florence.
“The decision has been made. Now we are working with Worthington corporate to make sure everything goes smoothly trying to move forward,” mentioned Kelley.
However, according to the Department of Commerce Florence County was awarded $500,000 for building improvements related to the company, in 2013.
Now Worthington will now have to owe the state a refund.
The company had complained that the facility has old technology and decided not to spend money to improve the location.
“From our end we certainly want these employees placed and find a good job, but as for the building as soon as we found out it was going to become available, we were making calls to brokers,” Kelley explained.
As one business goes, the county looks to turn a new chapter.
The Florence facility is set to close in September.
Worthington has brought in a rapid response team to help employees find jobs.
Chairman and CEO John McConnell released a statement on the decision to close, saying…”The weaker market conditions in engineered cabs combined with a need for significant capital investments to address production challenges led to this decision.”