Tuscarora reluctant in plans to sell off closing SL plant site closing SL plant site

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The decision to close the Storm Lake packaging manufacturer Tuscarora is completely based on the continued decline in technology sales, the company's president told the Pilot-Tribune this week.

David O'Leary, president of Tuscarora, Inc., said in a telephone interview that the Storm Lake facility will close sometime in the month of September.

"At that time, production will cease, and a few people will remain there shipping out inventory," he said.

The plant's equipment will be transferred to a Tuscarora facility in Wisconsin, O'Leary said. Already several Storm Lake employees have taken positions at other Tuscarora facilities in the country, he said.

Several years ago, at the height of production, the Storm Lake plant ran three shifts and employed around 30 people, O'Leary said.

However, since the company's packaging production was closely tied with Gateway sales, once Gateway hit a sales slump, orders for Tuscarora's packaging components did the same.

"This plant is not the only one we've had to close down as a result of the slowdown in the tech sector," O'Leary said.

Employment has slowly been cut back over the years. Now 10 people are employed at the plant.

O'Leary said the company plans on selling the Storm Lake building, though he said he wishes that didn't have to be the case.

In establishing the plant here six years ago, O'Leary said the community was very helpful.

"Storm Lake has been a good place to do business," he said. "We felt very welcomed in that community and thank them for their help."

He said the plant was very successful when it had the necessary sales volume.

"You only remain successful if you have sufficient volume," he said. "It's no fault of the people there or the community or the people who work for us - they have done a good job."

Tuscarora, Inc., located at 2902 Expansion Blvd., makes expanded polypropylene foam molding materials and has been open since 1997. Tuscarora custom designs and manufactures protective packaging.

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