Closure of St. Louis plant to benefit Poplar Bluff

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Nordyne to build bigger plant

Business Today

POPLAR BLUFF -- Nordyne's recent decision to close a plant in St. Louis is expected to add as many as 250 jobs to its operation in Poplar Bluff Industrial Park.

The St. Louis plant on Grand Avenue is being closed because the facility's location makes expansion impossible.

Therefore, Nordyne plans to build a new bigger plant at another location.

The impact on the Poplar Bluff plant is expected to be felt later this year.

"The Poplar Bluff facility will experience a remixing of products, some will be moving out, others will be moving in," said Michael Nix, Nordyne vice president of operations at St. Louis. "Those products moving in are part of our growth process. Poplar Bluff will see an increase of between 200 and 250 additional jobs."

Nordyne officials said a new site is being sought that would accommodate a plant 50 percent larger than the one in St. Louis. It eventually would employ more than 600 people.

David LeGrand, Nordyne president, said additional manufacturing space is vital to the continued success of Nordyne. He said the decision to relocate "was extremely difficult for our management team. The St. Louis work force has been loyal and dedicated. Unfortunately the manufacturing facility in St. Louis is landlocked and does not have the ability to expand to meet our future customer needs."

Nordyne is a prominent manufacturer of residential and commercial heating and air conditioning equipment.

The Poplar Bluff plant opened January 2001 and currently employs 425.

The St. Louis plant at 7100 South Grand Avenue has been in operation since 1984 and employs about 480 people.

Most St. Louis employees affected by this move will be eligible for assistance in severance compensation, health insurance and seeking new employment.

LaGrand noted that other manufacturing and warehousing operations in St. Louis, notably the Gustine Avenue and St. Peters facilities, would also be relocated so they would be in close proximity to the company's manufacturing plant.

The St. Louis manufacturing operations is expected to remain open for approximately nine months. Other operations in St. Louis will close in late 2004. The company's corporate headquarters in O'Fallon and manufacturing operations in Tipton are not affected.

Manufacturing, service and warehousing operations currently performed in the St. Louis area will be moved to existing company facilities and to a new plant location once that site is selected.

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