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Published: Friday, 7/15/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Fostoria plant plans to close

InterMetro, maker of shelves, carts, to ship work to Mexico

BY SHEENA HARRISON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

FOSTORIA -- InterMetro Industries Corp. plans to close its Fostoria plant, though state and local officials hope to convince the manufacturer to stay in town.

InterMetro, a division of Emerson Electric Corp. of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., makes carts, shelving, and storage equipment for medical, commercial, and food-service industries. It announced "tentative" plans this week to phase out operations at the 173,000-square-foot facility, which has more than 100 employees.

Permanent layoffs would start this fall and continue over the next 18 to 24 months. The work is to be moved to a new plant in Acuna, Coahuila, Mexico, the company said.

"These changes are necessary to keep InterMetro competitive in a challenging global market for its products," InterMetro officials said in a statement.

Workers at the InterMetro plant, which has been operating 24 years, are represented by United Steelworkers Local 1915-14. A company spokesman said InterMetro has to talk with union representatives before closing plans can be finalized.

A union representative could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Joan Reinhard, executive director of the Fostoria Economic Development Corp., said she expects InterMetro will make final decisions about the pending closure in the next two weeks. State and local officials including the Ohio Department of Development and the JobsOhio economic development board have offered to meet with InterMetro executives, Ms. Reinhard said.

"We would like to have an opportunity to sit with them and work it out," said Ms. Reinhard, who was informed of InterMetro's decision on Tuesday.

Seneca County One Stop and Career Center is preparing to assist InterMetro workers that stand to lose their jobs, Ms. Reinhard said.

"We are hopeful that … we have other industries in the community that may be able to utilize them," she said.

Contact Sheena Harrison at: sharrison@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.



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