CONWAY, Ark. – A lumber company in Conway laid off more than 100 employees Wednesday after the only Structurlam company in the United States has to close its doors.
A warehouse once bustling with workers and machines running is now silenced after 144 employees were laid off.
“Structurlam had one customer and we recently got notified unexpectedly that the customer was canceling their contract, which led us to curtailing operations,” Manager Jody Doak said.
Employees said when they saw the 6 a.m. meeting on their schedules there were concerned, and that’s when they heard the news.
“Doak says they are going to have to close the plant for a while and try to find other work for us to do, in the meantime, everybody’s laid off,” Structurlam employee Robert McGarrell said.
Robert McGarrell said it was devastating.
“It was a gut punch, as a matter of fact it was awful, there were tears shed and it was just disbelief,” McGarrell said.
“It was a very difficult day. As you can imagine, anytime you are dealing with a person’s livelihood it’s traumatic. It’s traumatic for the people delivering the news, it’s more traumatic for the people receiving the news. We really think a lot of our employees and we look forward to them coming back,” Doak stated.
But how long will this last? Plant Manager, Jody Doak, said hopefully not very long but it just depends on the projects they can secure.
“It’s very short term is what we are looking at again it’s hard to put a timeline on it, some of these projects take a year or more to get the engineering and everything, other projects are a couple weeks,” Doak.
The company said they have 24 crew members staying on to maintain the plant.
For now, Robert McGarrell said he is still looking for work to try and stay afloat, and he hopes they can get projects soon to start the hiring process again.