Vermont Plywoods buys Hancock mill

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(Host) A Vermont company will purchase the Chesapeake Hardwood plant in Hancock. The Virginia-based owners of the wood products plant had planned to shut it down.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) There aren’t many businesses along the quiet stretch of Route 100 that runs through the central Vermont town of Hancock. When Chesapeake Hardwoods announced it would close its plant there, the town of 400 faced the loss of about 90 jobs. Now a newly formed company called Vermont Plywood says it has lined up the financing to buy the plant.

Cabot native Dan Davis is the principal investor in Vermont Plywoods. Davis says Vermont’s wood products industry has suffered because large companies that own facilities in the state have had other priorities. He believes his company can successfully operate the Hancock plant.

(Davis) “I’m going to call it drawing a line in the snow. There really was no reason for this plant to close, financially. It’s been operating profitably. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that same scenario is playing out with Ethan Allen. Their two plants were profitable here that they closed, but they saw the opportunity to make more profit elsewhere.”

(Zind) Davis says there’s a strong market in New England for the products made in Hancock. The plant manufactures hardwood plywood used in paneling and cabinetry. Davis says he expects Vermont Plywood to close the sale within 30 days. The company will hire about fifty people at the start. Davis says the jobs will pay an average of $11 an hour.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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