The boom in stadium building is over and it is causing stadium seat builder Hussey Seating Co. to rethink its molding operations.
The private company, based in New Berwick, Maine, will close its Hussey Plastics division in Tyngsboro, Mass., by June 1, and plans to outsource its molding work. Twenty workers have already been laid off, with the final 25 to finish up standing orders.
``Most of the new stadiums have been built,'' said Tim Hussey, chief executive officer of Hussey Seating Co., in a March 24 telephone interview.
Hussey seats are in the two newest major league baseball parks opening soon: Lincoln Field, the Philadelphia Phillies' home, and Petco Field, the San Diego Padres' park, as well as Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots, which opened last year.
Its clientele is a who's who of sports, including the Indiana Pacers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, Washington Redskins and Toronto Maple Leafs.
However, Hussey said cities like Dallas and Minneapolis have been talking for years about building new facilities, but are not finding any public funding. The implosion of Veterans Field in Philadelphia was in the national news last week, but there were no reports of cities approving new stadiums.
Thus, the change in strategy. Hussey said an undisclosed Vermont company will take over its injection molding, while either a Pennsylvania or a Midwest company is in line to do blow molding.
Change is not new for the Maine company, which was started by William Hussey in 1835 as a plow company. It broke in to grandstand seating in the 1930s and now offers sports arena seating, telescopic gymnasium or bleacher seating, and movie theater seating. Tim Hussey is the sixth generation to run the company.
A lot of the work is done at a 220,000-square-foot site in New Berwick where 300 people are employed. The company does metal fabricating, woodworking, paint finishing and assembly. It launched a reconditioning program for seating in January to care for many of the seats it has made over the years.
Hussey also started a joint venture in September, called Hussey Seatway Ltd., to enter the European and Asian markets.