‘It would have been a huge impact’: Village happy Cambria plant is being sold rather than closing

While the closing of the Del Monte corn-packing plant may have been devastating in Cambria, village President Glen Williams said its sale to a new buyer shouldn’t have too much of an impact.

Del Monte Foods will close a plant in Mendota, Illinois, and another in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, parent company Del Monte Pacific Ltd. announced Tuesday. It will sell its Cambria plant at the end of corn-packing season.

In a village with about 770 people, Williams estimates hundreds of seasonal employees work at the Del Monte plant, along with dozens of full-time workers.

“It’s a small community,” Williams said. It’s just wonderful. Everybody knows everybody.”

When you know everybody, news travels fast.

“It’s nice to know when things happen, good or bad, it’s nice to have a community to share with,” Williams said.

With concerns of the Del Monte plant closing on Williams’ mind, he said he’s happy to share good news.

“The last couple years, we’ve been concerned that might happen. If they were to close and go away and those jobs go away, that would be a huge hit to the community,” he said. “Finding out they’re selling to a corporation that wants to keep it up and running is a wonderful, wonderful thing.”

Williams doesn’t know what company is buying the plant, and a Del Monte representative wasn’t able to share that either, but Williams said he’s been assured the buyer will retain current Del Monte employees and continue similar operations rather than shutting down.

“You’ve got the trucking companies that work with the factory, all those people would (have been) out of work. Actual seasonal workers, full time workers, the tax base would (have been) affected,” Williams said. “It would have been a huge impact, so we’re very happy to hear the new company is planning on keeping it open.”

Del Monte has owned the plant for about 20 years according to the village’s website, but it’s been around in some capacity for nearly a century.

“My father, myself, my brother all worked there to pay for going to college,” Williams said. “It’s employed many full-time workers over the years and it’s been a wonderful member of our community.

A Del Monte representative said current employees at the plant will be eligible for severance if they so choose.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, it has received no layoff notice from Del Monte about the Cambria plant.

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