CMH Manufacturing Inc., better known as the Clayton Homes, notified its work force Wednesday morning of the plant’s closing.
Employees were given a letter from plant general manager Pete Janatello that said: “With worsening economic conditions and declining home orders, it has become necessary to idle our manufacturing facility in Hodgenville, KY. It is with much regret and deliberation that we are unable to continue production.’”
In his letter to employees, Janatello said “once production ceases, only a few team members will be needed for miscellaneous duties involved in the closing.”
Team members will continue to receive their base pay and benefits for 60 days ending Dec. 14 in accordance with the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
The plant, which opened in February 2000, builds and distributes modular and manufactured homes to more than 1,600 retailers nationwide.
About 170 people work at the plant.
Ron Sanders, chairman of the LaRue County Industrial Foundation, said he “was as surprised as anybody” about the closure. He heard rumors about the shutdown and called Clayton Homes for confirmation Wednesday.
“They’ve been there less than 10 years,” said Sanders. “I can’t imagine them pulling up stakes and walking out. They’re a Berkshire Hathaway company and I thought if anybody could weather the recession, it would be them.”
Sanders said the industrial foundation will offer assistance in marketing the building.
“It’s too nice a facility to just set empty,” he said.
LaRue County Judge-Executive Tommy Turner called Clayton’s closure “a tragic situation for the employees and their families.”
“…it’s an economic blow for our community and region as Clayton has employees from LaRue, Hardin, Nelson, Green and other counties,” said Turner. “We have all heard about the condition of our economy and the crisis in the housing market.
We sometimes think these are issues removed from our community. However, Clayton’s closing shows these issues also hit us here at home. Even though the economic conditions that have lead to Clayton’s shutdown are well beyond the control of our community, we will make every effort to see jobs are found that will be equivalent to, or hopefully better than, those that have been lost.
“We want to see every Clayton employee working at a job in LaRue County in the future. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families.”