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Joplin company to lay off more than 100 workers - KOAM TV 7

Joplin company to lay off more than 100 workers

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Joplin, MO -

The Annie's food manufacturing plant, owned by General Mills, will soon close its doors for good.  It's part of a national restructuring of the General Mills company, with workers at a Chicago facility also losing their jobs.

"Everybody has their own, different circumstances," says Shane Solberg, a senior director of manufacturing at Annie's.  "Whether it's a loved one who needs healthcare, or whether it's a home that they just purchased.  There's just a lot of uncertainty for a lot of folks."

There are 120 of these folks who learned this morning that they will no longer have a job at Annie's.

"We had a town hall assembly with everybody who works at the plant here, and it was very professionally put together," says Solberg.

"To have a company like this close its doors here towards the end of the year, and lose over 100 jobs, is certainly a strong blow in the community," says Rob O'Brian with the Joplin Chamber of Commerce.

O'Brian offers insight into what caused the facility to close.

"There are market cycles.  And there are changes in how companies operate," says O'Brian.

Annie's bought the Joplin building in April of last year.  As it turned out, the beginning of the end started when General Mills bought the Annie's company in October of last year.

"In order to keep up with the demands that they foresaw in forecast and demand within a greater distribution, greater sales force, they just felt that this plant, and the capital that they felt needed to be invested in here, just wasn't justified," says Solberg.

And while an out-of-state company will soon close Annie's, many feel that the manufacturing building, part of the Joplin community since 1946, still has purpose.

"It's sad to see this chapter coming to a close, but I absolutely expect that there will be another chapter right around the corner, if not sooner," says Solberg.

General Mills will close the plant by the end of this calendar year.  The company has no other plan for the building, as of yet.  Severance pay has been offered to workers.

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