Standard Register Begins Last Days In Middlebury
Tuesday April 3, 2007
By Mike Cameron
The parking lot is noticeably less filled with cars as one of Addison County’s premier employers begins its final days doing business in Vermont.
Standard Register which employed 112 people in their Middlebury plant was scheduled to perform limited production through March of 2007. The company has been in operation since 1965 producing high quality business forms and employing over 200 well paid employees in its peak years.
In late January of 2007, the company notified news outlets after first meeting with employees in Middlelbury that the plant was closing. Company officials further explained that “all affected associates would be provided with severance and job-finding assistance” to help them with the transition to other jobs. “Most associates will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at other Standard Register facilities, with relocation assistance,” a company spokesperson explained at the time of the announcement that the plant would close.
Sources at the plant indicated that most of the remaining plant employees left their Middlebury plant positions for good on Friday, March 23rd and that a small number of production workers will remain at the plant through the end of May 2007 to assist with the process of closing down the plant.
The company is moving equipment from the Middlebury facility to its Murfeesboro, Tenn., York, Pa.and Fayetteville, Ark. facilities.
Standard Register operates 34 printing facilities and 22 warehouses in the U.S., as well as one document services facility in Mexico.
The company is almost 100 years old and has gained a reputation as a leader and innovator in document and label solutions technology. A complete history of the company is available at www.standardregister.com.
Local reaction to the plant closing has been guarded. After the initial shock waves settled in from the news that the plant would close. Some of the affected employees have found new jobs, others have exercised their retirement options with the company and still others have remained with the company and will transfer out-of-state. The exact number of former Standard Register employees who will be without a job after the entire plant closing process is complete remains to be seen.
How will the closing of Standard Register effect the local economy? We asked two long time Addison County business persons that question.
Theo Lowell who owns and operates several Middlebury businesses both retail and manufacturing expressed concern and caution.
“We’ll have to wait and see what the the real effect will be. Some of the employees have been offered opportunities at the companies Tennessee Headquarters, others have chosen to stay in the area. As far as the building and its future use after they finally close for good that will be determined to a large degree by the fact that the building is zoned against commercial development,” she explained.
Another long time, local business person, Roger Desabrais also felt that it was a bit early to determine what the closing means in dollars and cents. “We have a number of customers who were Standard Register employees and we did a fair amount of glass business with the company. The loss of over 100 jobs will have an effect but it will take a while to determine how much it will affect the local economy. What will happen to the building after Standard leaves is another question that needs to be answered. The whole process will take some time,” he said.
Middlbbury businessman Greg Wry was similarly concerned. “There will be a negative economic impact initially because of the closing. How severe it will be in the long run remains to be seen. One hundred plus individual pay checks is a significant number. These were good paying jobs and they will not be easy to replace.”
One veteran Standard employee who has seen over 20 years of service at the plant was complimentary of Standard Register management and ownership. “I was treated very well and I think the same is true for the others who will be looking for work now that the plant is closed. Many of us knew for some time that this day was coming and realized that the industry has been changing dramatically over the past dozen years or so.” The person went on to say that,
“most of the workers ended their final shifts on Friday last week 3-23-07. Some employees will continue to work some limited duty until the end of May,”
By the vast majority of people interviewed by the Valley Voice, Standard Register will be missed in Middlebury as a quality, top wage paying employer and solid corporate neighbor.