CROSSETT, Arkansas (08/21/19) — More workers at Georgia Pacific in Crossett are having to look for other jobs.
The company announced its Sparkle paper towel line will be shutting down, affecting about 25 employees.
“Some of our equipment is a little bit older. and the company feels other mills can produce it in a more effective manner,” Public Relations Manger, Jennifer King.
The employees were notified of the shutdown Tuesday morning. The news comes just two months after the company announced more than 500 people would be losing their jobs.
In June, the company announced the bleach board machines, extrusion plant, woodyard, pulp mill and a significant portion of the energy complex at the mill will all be closing by the end of the year.
All that’s left at the mill now is the tissue paper operations, which will become their main focus going forward.
“The toilet paper business is a huge part of our consumer business product across the GP spectrum,” King said.
The domino effect of bad news has taken its toll on residents and even business owners. Becky Roberts, owner of Country Vittles, saw a dip in customers when the plant announced its first significant number of layoffs.
“The first three weeks after they announced June 4th they were closing 500 plus jobs it was a little slower than normal,” Roberts said.
After that, business was back to normal. Roberts remains hopeful that her business and others will continue to bring in customers.
“Once everything is over and settled down, I think the town will continue to run probably better than it has been before,” she said.
Mandy White, President of the Crossett Area Chamber of Commerce, believes the the town will have a hard time adjusting to the drastic changes but the drought is only temporary.
“People are still going to eat. People are still going to need their computer fixed. People are still going to need a bank, insurance and financial services,” White said. “I think our town will bounce back.”
There are many people that don’t believe the town will bounce back. Some believe that Georgia Pacific will become obsolete in Crossett within the next five years, if not sooner. King said that shouldn’t happen.
“We are very hopeful that this will be the last significant business change here in Crossett,” King said. “We do believe that the company is looking forward to investing here again in the future with upgrades to some of our existing toilet paper machines.”
There is great reason for people to worry, especially when people’s futures are involved. White assures residents that businesses are opening in the town and hopefully more are expected to come.
“I see Crossett and downtown developing,” White said. “I see more industry coming here. We’re currently working with a bio fuel plant trying to recruit them to come into our town.”
The mill doesn’t plan to host a job fair for the employees affected by this recent shutdown. The Crossett Area Chamber of Commerce will host a job and resource fair for the community September 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the First Baptist Church.