Community braces for impact of plant closure - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Community braces for impact of plant closure

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Plant employees learned Tuesday the Boaz plant will be shut down. Plant employees learned Tuesday the Boaz plant will be shut down.

The Boaz Chamber of Commerce said local businesses are concerned about the city's economy in the wake of the Pilgrim's Pride plant closure announcement. Local leaders are concerned about what the economy will look like after the holiday season.

Mayor Tim Walker confirmed Tuesday more than 1,100 people will be out of a job come January. The poultry plant is the community's largest employer.

Several plant employees said talk of the plant shutting down had gone on for a few weeks, but nobody believed it would ever happen. Many of them expressed concern about the upcoming holiday season

Amy Harris is a waitress at Grumpy's Restaurant, the closest eatery to the plant. In addition to serving dozens of plant employees daily, the restaurant also has a catering contract with Pilgrim's Pride.

"Why is it at Christmas? We feel bad for the people that work there because it's going to be for their Christmas, and that impacts our business and this whole town," Harris said.

Grumpy's has served food for more than a decade, but that run might be coming to an end – and they're not the only ones with a bleak outlook.

"I was just in one of the furniture businesses a few minutes ago… let me tell you, they said this has an impact on us. People will not be coming in here buying furniture," said Chamber of Commerce President Peggie Haney.

Haney said the closure announcement caught her off-guard. She said she is now focusing on bringing something into that facility that will not only bring jobs, but pay more than minimum wage.

"Now that people have found that they are going to be losing their jobs, you can only imagine what kind of impact that will have on the community," Haney said.

The Chamber said the recruiting effort began Tuesday afternoon and will continue until the plant has an occupant once again.

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