Managers at Maremont Exhaust Products, a leading employer in the city of Loudon for decades, told workers this morning that the muffler-making facility will be closing in 30 days.
About 150 jobs will be eliminated in the closure, according to Jim Kozar, vice president and general manager. The closing is the result of a loss of business, Kozar said.
“We recently lost our largest customer,” he said.
Loudon city manager Lynn Mills said the city learned this morning about the closing and was still trying to comprehend the magnitude of the loss. Over the years Maremont provided work for a lot of town residents, he said.
“They’ve been here since the ‘60s. We really hate to see an icon like that close,” he said.
Kozar said the company will be working out a severance package. The company has already reached out to local government agencies to help the former employees in their transition.
The loss of Allied, a large auto parts distributor was the major contributing factor in the closure, Kozar said. A competitor is looking at purchasing some of the facilities but it is too early to tell what the results of the discussions might yield, he said.
Maremont has been located in its current location in Loudonsince 1969 and employed more than 400 as late as 2011, said Pat Phillips, president of the Loudon County Economic Development Agency. The last few years have seen a steady decline in the number of workers at the company, he said.
Phillips said his office has begun working on a job fair to be held at Maremont in the coming weeks. It’s hoped that Ceramica DelConca, an Italian tile maker that will open a manufacturing facility at Loudon’s Sugar Limb Industrial Park in January 2014, will be able to hire some of the former Maremont workers, he said.
“We’d like to get as many back to work as fast as possible,” he said.
The EDA will try to market the Maremont building, which is suited for heavy industrial manufacturing, he said.
Maremont entered the exhaust business in 1937 and by 1940 began to apply mass production techniques to the manufacturing of exhaust. The products are marketed through various channels of distribution under the brand names of Maremont, Cherry Bomb and various private labels.
In 2006 the company was purchased by Kenneth Banks. In 2007, members of the International Machinists Local 2545 at the Maremont plant voted to strike over pay and benefits. About eight months later, the workers voted to dissolve the union.