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When Large Employers Close Their Doors in Smaller Towns

We have all heard the stories and maybe even know someone that has been affected when a large company decides to cease operations and close their doors. The effects can be pretty significant especially when it’s in a smaller community or town.

The very recent announcement of Brillion Iron Works, an Iron Melting and Molding Factory in Calumet County, came quick after the sale of the company to Metaldyne Performance Group (MPG) on September 2nd for $14 million. Brillion Iron Works employs 293 hourly and 49 salaried employees. It is one of the county’s largest employers, along with Ariens Co. The company did say that transfer opportunities will be made available to some employees.

The economic impact of a large employer going out of business can be significant. Take Niagara, Wisconsin for instance. In 2008, the NewPage Corp., the new owners (at the time) of many paper mills in Wisconsin, decided to close the Paper Mill in Niagara permanently. This affected 319 employees, and this was the biggest employer in Niagara and the immediate surrounding areas. The town has suffered ever since. Without many options for work, including the surrounding towns of Iron Mountain, MI. and Norway, WI., many people moved away, lost their houses, and the town in general has not seen much in terms of financial growth since. I have personally found houses for sale in Niagara for as little as $12,000. I don’t know the exact percentages, but if I was to guess I would say that house values had dropped as much as 50%-60% in that area and have not recovered much in the following years.

The same company, NewPage Corp., had also closed a Kimberly based Paper Mill in 2008 displacing 475 workers. This did affect quite a few people, but I do believe that impact did not affect the community financially as much being that the whole Fox Valley area is booming with industry and job options. That is not to say that there were no effects…..just a little easier than a very small town or community that relies on that ‘One Employer’.

Anyway you look at it, it is never a good situation for anyone, especially the employees with years of service and without plans for such a big change that their lives will take or have taken.

We, at Found in Wisconsin, hope that you all find a quick and good job replacement and that you can turn this situation into a good change for you and your family.

Here are some links for job resources in Wisconsin:



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