A blow molding company with locations in both Ohio and Illinois is shutting down, a move impacting hundreds of workers in two locations.
The Plastics Group Inc. has informed workers at its Fremont, Ohio, facility that the location “will be permanently closing.”
“I regret to inform you that Fremont Plastic Products Inc. will be permanently closing. The closing is expected to occur on or about March 5, 2018. As a result of the shutdown, all employees will be laid off on or prior to that date. Layoffs are expected to start on March 5, 2018 or within 14 days thereafter,” reads a notice supplied by the Sandusky County Economic Development Corp.
Fremont Plastic Products is a subsidiary of the Plastics Group, which also has a location in Willowbrook, Ill., that also is closing, according to a report in The News-Messenger of Fremont.
The notice listed Dennis Gerrard as interim president and CEO, but he could not be immediately reached for comment Jan. 5.
Gerard became CEO following the departure of longtime company leader company leader Brian Beth, who left the company last summer after more than 20 years as president and CEO, his LinkedIn profile states.
“The entire facility will be closing and such closing is expected to be permanent,” the notice states. “We regret that the closing of the company has become necessary.”
In 2015, the Fremont facility received a $225,000 market development grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to help purchase recycling equipment. That money was to be used to recycle waste plastic from molding for reuse in manufacturing, the state agency said.
At the time of the grant, the Ohio EPA indicated an estimated 1.2 million pounds of polyethylene would be diverted from landfill disposal through the project.
Information on the Ohio EPA website at that time indicated the Fremont facility employed 225 workers and used about 20 million pounds of plastic each year to make products including kayaks, gas cans, fuel tanks, playground equipment, portable toilets and beds.
The Ohio site has been in business since 1980. The Plastics Group acquired the Fremont location in 1998 and estimated employment was 220 at that time. The company already had the Willowbrook blow molding location, then known as Borse Industries LP.
The Plastics Group, on its own LinkedIn page, indicates it has “more large-drop custom blow molding machines than any other North American producer.” Total employment at the two-location facility was listed at 501 to 1,000 on the page.
The Ohio facility is located 70 miles west of Cleveland, with 23 machines and over 200,000 square feet under one roof. The Willowbrook location is 15 miles southwest of downtown Chicago and serves as the company's headquarters. That location dates to 1963, according to the firm's website.
While Gerrard could not be reached for this story, he spoke with The News-Messenger.
“The company has lost a number of major customers over recent years, and the company had been engaged with its private equity sponsor to renegotiate its loan package,” he told the local paper. “Unfortunately those talks broke down.
“We have not been able to secure any other sources for finance and had no alternative to begin the wind down of the company,” he said in The News-Messenger.