Apex Tool Group says its Springdale plant, and a second location in Texas are operating under capacity, and will be consolidated into a much larger facility in South Carolina. The move isn't taking place until the end of 2015, giving workers a chance to find other opportunities.
"There's no way of sugar coating it," says Mayor Doug Sprouse. "It hurts."
Sprouse says the loss of Apex Tool Group will be painful for the city and the region,
"They've been good community partners for a long, long time," he says. "We do hate to see them go."
He says the news hits the 250 Apex employees especially hard.
"The real hurt is on those individual employees and their families, and the decisions that they have before them now that they've got to make," Sprouse says. "That's a very tough time, pretty traumatic, when you are notified that you're going to lose your job."
Apex spokesperson Kelly Blask says the consolidation will create 150 to 200 positions in South Carolina.
"Several of them will be offered the opportunity to relocate," Sprouse says. "I'm sure some will choose to do that."
But if moving is not an option, Sprouse says Springdale isn't a bad place to be.
"They're living in the best place in the country for this to happen," he says. "Springdale has led job creation in the state by a long shot over the past four years, and Northwest Arkansas as a whole is is very strong in job creation."
He hopes to see more jobs being made before the layoffs take place in a year and a half.
"We've had a string of good announcements that all involve creation of significant numbers of jobs," he says. "We know that there are more coming."
The company also operates a factory in Jonesboro, and Apex is encouraging its Springdale employees to look for openings there as well.
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