June 30, 2011
American Press, a privately owned magazine and catalog printer, is shutting down its Gordonsville plant, leaving 120 employees without a job.
The family-owned business, founded by Marshall Pettygrove and run by his son, will cease operations and close its doors by the end of August. American Press has been printing and distributing things like tourism brochures and periodicals from its Orange County headquarters since 1972.
Many of the company's 120 works are lifers, having been with the company for more than two decades. Some feel duped while others are saddened by the news and scrambling to find employment. Mayor Bob Coiner believes the impact of the plant's closure will extend well beyond employees, however.
"The economy is already soft, jobs are already scarce, so that adds to it in a big way for Gordonsville and the surrounding area," he said.
According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Orange County unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in May, already one of the highest rates in the region. That number will likely jump after the plant closes.
"I think it's going to have a terrible impact on this community. Considering the jobs people are losing, it's going to be very rough," added resident Willie Verdier.
President Charles Pettygrove released the following statement Thursday:
"The economic conditions during the last three years in this country and in our industry have resulted in the American Press no longer being financially viable. We are working toward an orderly shut down of our facility."
The future of the building is unclear. The facility underwent a major expansion about ten years ago and will soon be empty. The future of the laid off workers is just as hazy. They say questions about their pensions and health insurance have gone unanswered so far.