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Published: Monday, 7/22/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Delphos loses major employer

Reser’s Fine Foods closure on Sept. 13 to cost 104 jobs

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

DELPHOS, Ohio — The second-largest employer in the city of Delphos will close in September, eliminating more than 100 jobs.

Reser’s Fine Foods, which makes refrigerated side dishes and salads in Delphos, said it plans to stop producing food on Sept. 13.

Documents filed with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services show the plant employs 104 people. All will lose their jobs when the plant shuts down.

“This was a very difficult decision for our organization. We value the contributions the Delphos, Ohio, team makes to our company,” said Linda Stock, risk manager for Reser’s, headquartered in Beaverton, Ore.

Ms. Stock told The Blade the decision to shutter the plant was based on “economic factors specific to” the Delphos location, and that the company has manufacturing capacity elsewhere.

Reser’s operates 10 production facilities in the United States and two in Mexico. The company took ownership of the Delphos plant in November, 2011, after the plant’s previous owner filed for bankruptcy.

The announcement is stinging for Delphos, a city of about 7,000 people 85 miles southwest of Toledo. A distribution business that was in the same complex as Reser’s closed early last year, costing the city more than 100 jobs.

That facility is still empty, though Reser’s had been using parts of it for storage.

After Delphos City Schools, Reser’s is the city’s largest employer. But in addition to the job losses, Delphos will lose one of its biggest water users — and one of the main reasons it spent approximately $50 million to upgrade its water supply and wastewater treatment plant in a project completed in 2007.

“It’s going to impact us greatly in terms that there’s not revenue coming in that helps retire the debt for the water and wastewater plants that were built for the food-processing facilities,” said Greg Berquist, the city’s safety services director.

City officials said they weren’t given any specific reasons as to why Reser’s had decided to close the Delphos plant. Mr. Berquist said company officials indicated they intend to sell the facility.

Mr. Berquist said the city is working with the state and economic development officials with hopes of identifying a potential replacement. The city would like to see another food producer with similar water needs come in and take over the facility, he said.

“We hope that someone will express some interest in very short order, but we don’t have any leads on it at this point in time,” he said.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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