FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) - Hon Company, a furniture-making business, announced it will close its Florence plant.
Gary Carlson, VP of Member and Community Relations, said this will be a phased closing with the closure coming toward the end of 2014.
Hon Company has been making furniture in Florence since 1997. They currently have about 190 employees.
The operation in Florence will be consolidated with operations in other states.
"This has been a difficult decision," said Carlson. "The people have been wonderful, but this was an economic decision."
Local leaders and employees said the announcement came as a shock.
Shoals Chamber of Commerce President Steve Holt said the chamber and local leaders are committed to helping those affected find new jobs and bring new business to the area.
"In both cases, there have been wonderful testimonies about the corporate leadership, about the quality of the workforce here, and their willingness to work and the good jobs that they do," Holt said. "That's a very positive statement, [though] when losing those jobs it doesn't make the impact any easier."
Holt's reference to 'both cases' involves the recent announcement that Hillshire Brands is closing its Florence facility, also by the end of the year.
"Back to back, that's almost 1,300 jobs at a loss for this community," Holt said. "It hurts for the families, the leaders within those companies. Some will stay here and try to find another career, and some will have to be relocated. All around, it's difficult."
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