IN THE NEWS
By Hugh G. Willett
Originally published 03:22 p.m., March 30, 2012
Updated 04:49 p.m., March 30, 2012
LENOIR CITY — One of the oldest industrial employers in Lenoir City will close its doors within the next year at a cost of over 200 local jobs.
Yale Locks and Hardware Co., a fixture in Lenoir City since 1953, will cease local operations, according to an announcement from parent company ASSA ABLOY in New Haven, Conn.
Yale will begin consolidating its operations into a factory in Berlin, Conn., during the coming year as part of a global factory footprint reduction, said Dan Krajewski, general manager.
“They can’t fit the other factory into this factory but they can fit this factory into the other factory,” he said.
About 235 employees will be affected by the closure. Product development and technical product support will remain in Lenoir City.
According to Pat Phillips, president of the Loudon County Economic Development Agency, the closure will be a blow to the county which has been working hard to attract new industrial development.
“They’ve been a major employer and a great corporate citizen,” he said.
The company makes commercial locks and has been suffering for several years from the slowdown in commercial construction, he said.
According to Phillips, employees were told this morning and were allowed to go home early. The employees will be back next week. A phased out closure might take 8 to 12 months, he said. It’s possible some of the employees will have the opportunity to move to Connecticut, he said.
The closure of the plant had nothing to do with the performance of the operation, Krajewski said.
He confirmed that some of the Lenoir City employees will have the opportunity to apply for positions in the consolidated operations. Krajewski, who has been with Yale for 12 years, said he will leave the company at the end of the year.
The Loudon EDA may make an offer to entice the company to stay, but it’s too early to know what the offer might be or whether the company would consider staying, Phillips said.
Krajewski said that he had heard about the EDA effort to retain Yale but said he didn’t know any specifics or whether an offer would be considered.