HAZLETON, Pa. -- A manufacturer in Hazleton has announced it will be closing its doors next year.
Valmont Industries plans to stop production in Hazleton in February of 2019.
Nestled into a neighborhood in the Heights section of Hazleton is the Valmont Industries plant. The plant makes steel utility poles.
News just broke that this plant will be closing and that about 180 workers will be without a job.
Down the street from the plant at a convenience store, we found many community members discussing the closing, including store employees who have gotten to know so many of the workers.
"We just found out this morning. It's sad," said Brian Pliska, Heights EZ Stop assistant manager. "A lot of the guys that come in to get their food, coffee, hoagies, you can see it in their face. They're a little upset."
People Newswatch 16 spoke with say they were surprised to learn the facility is closing because they say there has been a lot of activity around here recently.
"I thought they were doing very well since they established and built four cranes in the grounds behind the building," said Rocco Formica.
Newswatch 16 asked the company's spokesperson why the Hazleton facility was closing. In a statement she said:
"The decision to close the facility was the result of a comprehensive review of our existing manufacturing footprint, its alignment with our business strategy, and the opportunities we have to serve our current and future markets."
The statement goes on to say Valmont Industries plans to offer those who have lost their jobs potential placement at other Valmont facilities in other parts of the country.
But still, community members feel for all who are affected.
"I don't know how many employees they have down there; I know it has to be well over 100. It would be sad at this time of the year, the holidays and the Christmas season," Formica said.
The final closure is expected sometime during the middle of next year.