Custom injection molder Freedom Plastics plans to close its two plants because its major customer, Maytag Corp., is relocating refrigerator production from Galesburg, Ill.
Freedom plans to close its Sheffield, Ill., plant at the end of this week, said Sheffield plant manager Chuck Eiben. Freedom will close its headquarters plant in Joliet, Ill., later, said spokeswoman Lou Czupryn. Sheffield employs 65 and Joliet's staff numbers about 70. Freedom plans to sell the two plants' machinery.
Nearly all the Sheffield plant's work is to supply the large Maytag refrigerator manufacturing facility in Galesburg. Maytag said last fall it will begin closing the 1,600-employee facility in mid-2003 and move production to a new plant being built in Reynosa, Mexico.
Freedom's Joliet plant is less reliant on Maytag contracts but it, too, will be hit hard by the appliance giant's move. Czupryn said the Joliet operation will wind down as work is completed for other customers. The Joliet facility is 34 miles southwest of Chicago and about 90 miles away from the Sheffield facility.
Merchants Capital of Chicago owns Freedom Plastics. On Freedom's Web site, it boasts of capabilities in gas-assist molding, real-time information systems, bar coding, assembly and automation.