Business owners react to Shaw Industries closing Clinton plant

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CLINTON, SC (WSPA) – Economic development leaders in Laurens County will meet Wednesday with officials at Shaw Industries to discuss how to best help laid off employees find new jobs.

Shaw announced Monday that it will close it’s Clinton facility in August, leaving 120 employees without a job.

According to Shaw Industries, the company’s engineered hardwood flooring manufacturing plant on Torrington Road will close August 24.

The company said the move is being made to “most effectively meet customer needs.”

The plant’s production will move to other Shaw operations in the Southeast.

At least one employee told 7News Tuesday that everyone at the plant is still in shock. She declined to go on camera to protect her job status and ability to find future employment.

Others around town said they’ll feel the pinch, too, like Joshlyn Holbert, who manages House of Pizza in downtown Clinton.

“They’re regulars. They come in all the time. Now with them not being employed they’re not gonna be able to come out as much as they would like to,” said Holbert.

The loss of 120 jobs in the community is also being felt next door, where Belinda Melson is trying to get a new business started, an event venue she said families can afford, but she said when money’s tight priorities change.

“They’re thinking about their bills, they’re thinking about prioritizing. They probably wouldn’t think about renting this place right now. They’re just figuring out where their ends are gonna meet,” Melson said standing outside her store front.

Michael Stoddard, a longtime resident in Laurens County, agreed. “Jobs aren’t as abundant as larger areas like Simpsonville, Mauldin, Spartanburg. So, it’s gonna affect our area quite a bit,” explained Stoddard.

Jonathan Campbell, executive director of the Laurens County Economic Development Corp., said his office, officials with Shaw, and a “rapid response team” from the S.C. Department of Workforce and Development will coordinate to hold job fairs with other area manufacturers to help find impacted workers find new jobs.

Shaw said the 120 people currently employed at the factory will be the opportunity to apply for open positions at Shaw’s other locations in South Carolina and throughout the United States.

“Supporting associates during this transition is our highest priority,” said senior director of human resources Mark Hartline in a statement. “As we realign our manufacturing operations, we will help associates identify new job opportunities at Shaw and in the region,” an official said in a release.

Mark Hartline, senior director of human resources at Shaw told 7News on Tuesday that all associates will be provided compensation for the next 60 days. 

“Shaw is spreading manufacturing processes that currently take place at Plant H5 across our operations to meet consumer desire for wider and longer planks as well as mixed widths that cannot be created at Plant H5 but can in other parts of our operations,” said Hartline.

Harline said this is not a sign that production is slowing at Shaw.

“Shaw’s hardwood flooring business is very healthy. We continually evaluate the best way to meet customer needs and adapt our operations accordingly. That includes investing in advanced technology, innovation and high-demand categories as well as increasing and decreasing capacity at specific locations. This is not a sign of slowing production,” he said.

Shaw Industries recently announced the closure of their plant in Central which employed 249 people.

For more information on SC Works online services and to search for jobs in South Carolina, click here.

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