Richmond HIll Hobart manufacturing facility to close its' doors - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Richmond HIll Hobart to close its' doors

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Hobart manufactures products for the food service and food retail industry Hobart manufactures products for the food service and food retail industry
Uptown Deli Uptown Deli

Richmond Hill will soon lose a manufacturer that has been there more than 30 years.

Employees at the Hobart plant were told this week, the plant is closing at the end of this year.

Folks in Richmond Hill are not taking the news of Hobart closing lightly. This kitchen supply manufacturer has been a fixture in this community for decades.

"Hobart is the only industry we have had in the city in the past 30 years," said Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler. "It means a lot to have hobart here. it is going to hurt the economy. It is going to hurt the employees. We really hate to lose them."

On Thursday, officials of Illinois Tool Works Inc., the parent company of Hobart, announced to the 42 employees they would be closing by the end of the year.

"The Richmond Hill plant is a key part of our operations," said Vice President Aaron Zell. "We did an analysis of our space and looking at assets and resources, it came down to the fact that we have a facility in Ohio that can house the Richmond Hill product line, it made economic sense to to condense them."

Jen and Fred Shimalla, who own Uptown Deli, say this affects them in many ways.

"I am sad, as a business owner in town," said Fred Shimalla. "It is a shame to see business leave Richmond Hill, when we are always trying to get business to come to town. Hobart has been a mainstay in our town for a long time. I feel bad for the people that work there. There has been a lot of people that have worked there a long time."

"As a business owner, we service them," said Jen Shimalla. "We cater for them. It is also sad. We are their test kitchen. I don't know how that will affect us. There are a lot of external things that are going to affect us."

The city and the state of Georgia tried to offer incentives to keep the company in town, but Hobart officials say they simply don't take assistance, and prefer to support themselves.

The unemployment office was on site Friday to help provide out-placement assistance to the employees.

Hobart, based in Troy, OH, manufactures products for the food service and food retail industry.

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