At about 8:30 a.m. Monday, EPIC Technologies executives announced they’re closing their Norwalk facility, leaving 85 local residents without jobs.
The company met with city officials afterward to break the news, and the announcement was entirely unexpected, Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan said.
“It’s always devastating,” Duncan said. “We never want to see jobs leave the community. It’s a business making a business decision”
NATEL EMS, a private electronics manufacturing services company, recently purchased the EPIC plant in October.
EPIC Technologies employees perform skilled precision work, manufacturing items such as circuit boards. The city unsuccessfully pleaded its case and asked that, in the aftermath of the Janesville Acoustics closing, NATEL reconsider its decision.
The community is resilient enough to come back from this, Duncan said.
“We will continue to persevere,” he said. “We have a great workforce that is highly skilled. We will come back”
It’s unknown if the closing was part of the plans when NATEL purchased EPIC. Multiple phone calls to the local plant went unanswered, and phone messages left with a company spokesperson went unreturned.
“The Norwalk facility has faced a declining demand for its products over the past two years,” the company stated in a release.“Past workforce reductions and other significant cost reduction measures, as well as a major effort to attract new business, have proven insufficient to sustain operations at the site”
The plant will immediately begin consolidating customers to other EPIC facilities located in Mason, Ohio, Chatsworth, Calif., and Juarez, Mexico. EPIC anticipates completing the consolidation in the next six months.
The loss of the company is a significant impact, said Ellen Heinz, director of Norwalk Economic Development Corp. The company is leaving a 43,000-square-foot facility.
City officials said they plan to start marketing the property.
The company is scheduled to pay about $24,000 on gross property tax for 2013, according to the county auditor’s website.