Seasonal products maker General Foam Products Corp. is closing its Tarboro, N.C., facility by the end of the year.
General Foam filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification with North Carolina's Department of Commerce on July 31. The notice states 215 workers will be affected by the closure beginning Oct. 15.
General Foam indirectly benefitted from some government funding in 2014 to expand operations, according to a spokesman for the state's commerce department. The company at that time committed to creating 100 jobs in the expansion to add to the 48 employees already in Tarboro. General Foam apparently exceeded that target, creating 67 more jobs at the site than were targeted for the government assistance. General Foam indicated in 2014 that it would spend $2.3 million in machinery and equipment for its expansion.
The town of Tarboro received $750,000 toward the cost of a new electrical generator that would support General Foam's anticipated needs for more power. Although General Foam won't need thepower after closing the Tarboro plant, the generator will benefit other industries connected to the local grid, stated Department of Commerce spokesman David Rhoades in an email.
General Foam contributed $300,000 toward the cost of the generator. The 2-megawatt generator was added to spare General Foam high electricity costs during peak loading times on the power grid. Rhoades stated that without the generator the company would pay 30 times the regular rate during peak demand periods. As a public infrastructure project, the generator can help other businesses avoid the onerous peak-period prices.
Tarboro received the $300,000 in assistance from the state's Rural Infrastructure Authority for the electrical generator, Rhoades said. The town of Tarboro and Carolinas Gateway Partnership covered $25,000 in project administration and application fees, according to a local newspaper report. The Golden Leaf Foundation also assisted with $250,000 in funding.
General Foam officials did not immediately respond to requests for more information about the imminent closure.
General Foam is based in Norfolk, Va. It runs production plants there as well as in Virginia Beach, Va., and San Bernardino, Calif. In 2015 it shut a plant in Lebanon, Ind., but did not publicly reveal why it closed the operation.