CANTON, N.C. (WSPA) – One of the largest employers in Haywood County announced plans Monday to close their paper mill in Canton.

As part of a restructuring of their beverage merchandising business, Pactiv Evergreen announced they will shut down their mill in Canton in the second quarter of 2023.

The company said in a news release that they will “explore strategic alternatives” for their facility in Waynesville.

“The company recognizes the impact this will have on our colleagues and is committed to supporting impacted employees throughout this transition,” said Beth Kelly, communications director for Pactiv Evergreen. “We will provide severance benefits and offer outplacement services and other support to help impacted employees pursue new opportunities.”

The company also announced the closure of a facility in Ohio.

Combined, the company said the closures will result in the elimination of 1,300 jobs. Around 1,100 of those are in Haywood County, officials said.

“Supporting every single worker and family affected by this economic crisis is the most
important thing that we are doing today,” said Zeb Smathers, mayor of Canton, in a news release Tuesday. “At the same time that we are securing the safety and stabilization of our economy, we will continue to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to find employment.”

“My hope is that everyone who wishes to will be able to stay in Haywood County,” said Smathers.

Governor Roy Cooper called the closure a “shocking, cruel blow to families who have depended for years on wages and business” from the mill.

“I talked with Mayor Smathers and my administration is all in to help find solutions and create new opportunities for Western NC,” Cooper said.

“My heart fell yesterday as I heard the news concerning the paper mill being closed down,” said Brandon Rogers, vice chairman of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners, in a news release. “Being a native of Haywood County it has always been a huge part of this small town that I call home. I have numerous family members, friends, and customers that are being affected.”

Haywood County, the town of Canton, and Haywood Community College have put together a joint information center to provide information to the public on reemployment and training opportunities along with mental health services.