Sunbelt Plastic Extrusion in Centerville, which celebrated an expansion four years ago, is closing by the end of September.
A division of Southern Imperial based in Rockford, Illinois, Sunbelt has been manufacturing plastic extrusions in the city for more than 30 years, according to the company’s website. Plastic extrusion is a manufacturing process in which raw plastic is melted and formed into objects such as signs, pipes, tubing and other items.
The company, which is at 949 Carl Vinson Parkway, has 53 employees, according to the Georgia Department of Labor’s business layoff and closure listing.
Angie Gheesling, executive director of the Development Authority of Houston County, said the company had been absorbed by another company, and when that happens “sometimes you have to make the decision to close” some facilities.
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She said as soon as she learned about the closure in June, she arranged for Central Georgia Technical College to bring in folks to meet with employees who were presented with opportunities to “hone their skills ... and so much of it is free.”
Also the Georgia Department of Labor sent people to talk to employees, and they will be back next week, she said.
“I don’t think they will have any problem finding a good job,” Gheesling said. “Everybody is going to land on their feet.”
The company is listed on the development authority’s website as one of Houston County’s largest manufacturing employers.. At the time of the listing, it had 85 employees. Gheesling wasn’t sure when the list was last updated but said it was usually done at least yearly.
Efforts Tuesday to reach someone with the company were unsuccessful.
Kate Hogan, director of economic development and marketing with the city of Centerville, said the company had been using several temporary workers, and “they had been phasing out” work. She said she understands the company was moving the work done here to another facility out of state.
Sunbelt Plastics was nominated by Houston County for the 2014 Georgia Manufacturer of the Year in the small business category. In February of that year, the company held a ribbon cutting ceremony at its new manufacturing building for an expansion that began in 2013, according to a news release on the company’s website. At that time, it was adding six new production lines, increasing production by 40 percent, and it planned to hire six additional full-time employees.