Douglas Machine's Deerwood facility is in the process of closing this year, it was learned Friday.
The firm's Web site and other sources indicated the Alexandria-based company is consolidating its Deerwood operations with the Alexandria operations, relocating to Alexandria this year.
While an employee in Alexandria Friday confirmed that the Deerwood plant is closing, she later said she could not make any comments at this time. Company president Rick Paulsen was unavailable Friday. Vice president Jon Ballou referred questions to Paulsen.
Sheila Haverkamp, executive director of the Brainerd Lakes Area Development Corp., said a JOBZ district was established at the plant during its late 2004/early 2005 expansion project, a 9,000-square-foot expansion. At the time the Deerwood facility had 36 employees when BLADC began working with the company, which involved a $200,000 capital investment and would have added 15 full-time employees. Salaries ranged from $12-$15 an hour with benefit packages worth about $8,700 annually. Shortly after completion of this expansion, another 2,300 square feet were added to relocate the mechanical and electrical machine design group to the plant. In 2006 the Deerwood expanded to 29,280 square feet.
Haverkamp said she should have a better understanding next week what the process will involve when a plant closes in a JOBZ district.
"Of course anytime a company decides to move outside our marketplace it's difficult," said Haverkamp. "It creates a concern because our manufacturing is so important to our local economy."
According to the company Web site, Douglas Machine acquired controlling interest in Davis Engineering in Deerwood in 1996. The Deerwood plant manufactured paperboard sleevers and cartoners, placers and provided machine refurbishment and modification services.
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