Ben & Jerry’s to Close Two Plants

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(Host) Ben and Jerry’s has announced it will close two Vermont manufacturing plants. The ice cream maker announced Monday that it will shut down facilities in Springfield and Bellows Falls. The move will affect about 120 workers.

Ben and Jerry’s says the closings are an effort to locate manufacturing facilities closer to the company’s milk supplier, the St. Albans Cooperative. The company says it plans to expand its St. Albans plant. The $15 million project is expected to add 55 jobs.

The news of the closings comes on the heels of layoffs in Springfield’s once thriving machine tool industry. Two major machine tool shops closed earlier this year when the Goldman industrial group filed for bankruptcy.

Springfield town manager Robert Forguites says he got the news from Ben and Jerry’s officials at a meeting Monday:

(Forguites) "I would say that it’s a hit that’s going to hurt, because coming on top of the Goldman hit. I asked them how long a business-as-usual operation will be maintained in Springfield. They indicated that it would be eight to 16 months."

(Host) Ninety people work at the Springfield facility. Another 34 are employed in Bellow Falls. Ben and Jerry’s says it will offer all employees severance packages or a chance to transfer to another operation.

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