08/27/04 — Processing plant to close in Duplin

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Processing plant to close in Duplin

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 27, 2004 2:04 PM

TEACHEY -- A plant near Wallace that processes turkeys under the Carolina Turkeys label is closing.

Dan Blackshear, the president of Carolina Turkeys near Mount Olive, said Circle S Foods announced this week it will close. He said Circle S officials met with salaried employees Tuesday and Wednesday and with the hourly people Thursday.

Employees were told the plant will close in December. Circle S officials could not be reached for comment today before press time, but the plant is not required by law to notify anybody except the county manager and the Employment Security Commission, and that is 60 days prior to closing.

Circle S Foods put 320 people to work in April 2003 when it reopened the turkey processing plant that used to process Butterball turkeys through ConAgra. ConAgra, which closed in January 2003, had replaced 450 jobs that had been lost several years ago when the Steveco Knit plant closed, putting 800 people out of work.

The plant reportedly lost $7 million worth of product last summer when Southern Cold Storage had an equipment failure. Southern declared bankruptcy and the freezer was recently acquired by Nordic, which has a plant in Goldsboro.