A key employer in Spencer that makes sealers and vibration control products used by the auto industry is closing. Freudenberg-NOK is going to transfer all operations from its Spencer plant to two facilities in Ohio. Sarah O’Hare is a vice president for the company.
“At some point you can’t afford to keep, you know, 40 buildings open and you have to start to combine operations,” O’Hare says. “…You don’t need as many people; you don’t need the floor space; you can’t pay for it.” About 65 people work at the Spencer plant and some will be offered jobs in Ohio.
“The manufacturing side of Spencer will go to Troy, Ohio, primarily,” she says. “And then the warehouse and distribution side would primarily go to our distribution center in Milan, Ohio.” Freudenberg-NOK opened its facility in Spencer in 2000. The shut down may be complete in six months. O’Hare says the decision is due, mostly, to a sharp decline in automobile production.
“When the automotive companies are not building 17 million cars and those of us who supply into that industry, primarily, or other industries that aren’t doing as well as they should, they stop ordering,” O’Hare says. “And when they stop ordering because they can’t sell cars off the lot or not selling as many John Deere tractors or Harley-Davidson motorcycles or whatever the case may be, our volumes go down.”
Sales of U.S. autos fell 23 percent in September. Sales of all brands of tractors fell 24.3% in September according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Harley-Davidson, however, reported record sales for the third quarter.
Contributed by Ryan Long, KICD, Spencer