Craft House plant to close this summer

KALKASKA – Approximately 125 employees will lose their jobs this summer when Craft House Corp., Kalkaska’s fifth-largest employer, will close its doors as part of a consolidation effort.

“We’ve had dual locations (in Kalkaska and Toledo, Ohio) for many years,” said Bryan Romberg, vice president of operations. “Our distribution is out of Ohio, and we’ve had two facilities that are substantially underutilized. As a result, we need to cover expenses. We incur tremendous transportation costs between here and Toledo, plus the costs of maintaining the building here.”

The maker of hobby and craft items will slowly wind down its Kalkaska operation and close on July 31, according to Romberg. Until then, “We’ll be slowly reducing the workforce, mainly through attrition,” he said. “We anticipate that the majority will occur during the first four to six weeks as people find other jobs. Those people won’t be replaced.”

Employees have the option of relocating to the Toledo plant.

“If people want to move, we’d welcome them,” said Romberg. There will be relocation assistance available, but it’s too early to know the specifics. Romberg mailed a notice of the intended shutdown to the State’s Workforce Transition Unit. He will be meeting with representatives shortly to “see what they have to offer.”

Other employees may retire, “certainly some, but not a high number,” said Romberg. Those that do will be eligible for their pension benefits.

As for morale, “The majority have been here long term,” he said. “I don’t see a disgruntled work force, I see a saddened workforce.” BIZNEWS