The Radford Foundry is closing down later this year, WDBJ7 reported.
The decision to close the foundry will lead to more than 250 workers becoming unemployed by the end of the year, though according to Richard Pacini, Grede’s Public Relations specialist, there are approximately 28 workers that qualify for employment at other foundries. The foundry was one of Radford’s largest employers.
The reasons for this decision were varied and difficult for the company. Two months after Grede acquired the Radford foundry, a fire destroyed the foundry’s only working furnace. The loss of profitability and efficiency caused by the furnace’s destruction, coupled with the weakened Radford economy, led the company to make the decision of its closure.
“The aftereffects of the May furnace fire and the cost there combined with other factors,” said Pacini in a statement made earlier this month. “It was really the lack of competitive cost structure within the plant and the state of the economy that led us here. This was purely a business decision.”
He also mentioned that there was a small chance that the foundry might come back into business, as it isn’t being completely dismantled, though no moves are being made in that direction.
The foundry is set to lower manufacturing over the next few months and is slated to completely stop by the end of Dec., though a few workers will be employed to maintain the equipment if production was to ever restart.
“This is going to affect the New River Valley as a whole,” said Basil Edwards, Radford’s economic developer. “Workers come from all over. It’s unfortunate for the families that are relying on those jobs for their income.”
The effects of the foundry’s closing on local businesses hasn’t gone unnoticed by Edwards.
“They buy all their office supplies and safety gear locally. Our restaurants will surely be impacted,” Edwards said. “The foundry business is a tough one. The industry as a whole has changed in the United States. The cost of doing business right now makes it difficult for foundries to survive.”
The foundry is located at 1701 West Main Street, Radford, Virginia, 24141.