Alpha Plastics of Hamlet is a producer of polyethylene for consumer products packaging of textile and food products and industrial applications.
“The decision to close the facility has nothing to do with the quality of work of the employees of Alpha Plastic,” company spokesman Kelly Ferguson said Tuesday afternoon. “The employees have operated the facility safely and effectively for many years. The decision is based on the fact that market conditions and current customer demand don’t support the plant’s overall production capacity.”
Alpha Plastics is located on Highway 177, and has operated in Hamlet since 1972.
It is the second plastics industry to close in Hamlet in less than a year. Rexam Plastics announced it would close its plant on County Home Road late last year.
Just weeks after the plant closed, a press conference was held with Gov. Bev Perdue in Hamlet to announce the Plastek Group of Pennsylvania would move to Richmond County. Plastek later purchased the plant from Rexam.
That plant closure impacted about 220 people, some of whom are being rehired by the new company as Plastek sets out to bring 250 jobs to the county and about $19 million in investment over the next three years.
Ferguson said Alpha Plastics will work with its 32 employees during the transition.
“We are communicating with each of our employees and will work to provide them as much information and assistance as possible during this process,” he said Tuesday.
Georgia-Pacific owns Alpha Plastics, and the company will keep some of the plant’s equipment running into November.
“This will allow the plant to work with its customers and meet their immediate product needs as they transition to new suppliers,” Ferguson said.
He said the operation is being shut down, as opposed to shifted to another plant or country, but the company has expressed interest in applying for trade benefits for its employees.
“They’re going to apply for trade benefits, so we’ll just have to wait until that application is sent off and comes back,” Employment Security Commission Rockingham Local Office Manager Jack Haliburton said.
Trade Adjustment Assistance could mean unemployment benefits for the employees for up to two years, as well as assistance retraining for another field of work.
Haliburton said Plastek’s location near Alpha Plastics could also bode well for the 32 employees.
“Obviously, we will point them in that direction,” Haliburton said. “We will encourage all of these employees to update their resumes, build their networking channels and continue their job searches throughout their commuting distance.”
The building belongs to the company.
“We haven’t made a final decision on what we will do with the building and equipment,” Ferguson said. “We’ve been focused on assisting our employees through the transition.”
He said he didn’t have any estimate of the property’s value.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at email@example.com.