Local News

Slim Jim maker closes Garner plant Friday

Posted May 19, 2011

— A local maker of Slim Jim beef jerky products will shut its doors Friday, putting more than 200 people in the town of Garner out of work.

ConAgra Foods Inc. announced last year that it was moving production to Troy, Ohio, for a better cost structure and production expansion.

At its peak, the Garner plant employed approximately 700 employees, but about 350 were laid off in November 2009, five months after an explosion that killed four people.

ConAgra spokesman Dave Jackson said 216 people are currently employed there and that fewer than 20 will stay on to help close the site. Eleven employees requested transfers to other ConAgra plants, and all were granted the requests, Jackson said.

Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said Thursday that plans were in place to begin marketing the property to attract another manufacturer. He said Friday would be a "sad day" for the town.

"It's the end of an era. ConAgra has been a corporate citizen providing good-paying jobs and benefits to a lot of people for well over 40 years," he said. "So, it's going to be a little bit sad to see them finalize production."

Town officials and representatives of the North Carolina Department of Commerce had negotiated with ConAgra for months to convince the Omaha, Neb.-based company to keep the plant open.

ConAgra agreed to pay the town $3 million toward building a planned community center and said it would donate the 450,000-square-foot plant and the surrounding 106 acres to the town.

Troubles began for the plant following the June 9, 2009, explosion, caused by a natural gas leak. ConAgra reopened two months later but was forced to lay off workers because of its diminished production capacity.

76 Comments

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  • wildgentle1nc May 20, 7:15 p.m.

    Very Ironic the same day they close the plant, Macho Man Randy Savage dies.

  • webhype May 20, 1:33 p.m.

    how fitting Slim Jim production dies in Garner today and so does "Macho Man" Randy Savage.

  • smegma May 20, 12:33 p.m.

    you should boycot them anyway. that's all poisonous frankenfoods

  • PhotoJ May 20, 11:22 a.m.

    Boycott Can Agra - not that i disagree, but good luck with that:

    BANQUET
    CHEF BOYARDEE
    DAVID SEEDS
    EGG BEATERS
    HEALTHY CHOICE
    HEBREW NATIONAL
    HUNT'S KIDCUISINE MARIE CALLENDER'S ORVILLE REDENBACHER'S PAM REDDI-WIP SLIM JIM SNACK PACK WESSON ACT II LIBBY'S ALEXIA MANWICH ANDY CAPP'S PARKAY BANQUET BROWN 'N SERVE PENROSE BLUE BONNET PETER PAN CRUNCH 'N MUNCH POPPYC*CK DENNISON'S RANCH STYLE FIDDLE FADDLE RO*TEL FLEISCHMANN'S ROSARITA GULDEN'S SWISS MISS JIFFY POP VAN CAMP'S LA CHOY WOLF BRAND CHILI

  • WooHoo2You May 20, 11:20 a.m.

    WooHoo2You: "How is that Bush economy working on the housing / auto market EVERYWHERE...."

    So Bush gets the blame for the auto companies, too? Funny, Obama is the one who directed the GM bailout/bankruptcy. Might as well blame Bush, right?-saturn5

    My comment was in jest to Keepin_it_Repedative...

    BTW, Bush did some auto bail outs too and the problem started before Obama took office. (I am not blaming Bush personally nor giving Obama personal credit)

  • saturn5 May 20, 10:35 a.m.

    WooHoo2You: "How is that Bush economy working on the housing / auto market EVERYWHERE...."

    So Bush gets the blame for the auto companies, too? Funny, Obama is the one who directed the GM bailout/bankruptcy. Might as well blame Bush, right?

  • saturn5 May 20, 10:33 a.m.

    corey3rd: "Rich get richer and the working class gets the shaft."

    Does this mean there's no working class in Troy, Ohio? Moving the plant will end jobs here but create jobs there.

  • davidk_at_unc May 20, 10:08 a.m.

    "How's that Hope and Change working for y'all?" -- Keepin_it_real_in_NC

    "How does this have anything to do with the Con Agra situation?" -- caseofthefoo

    Oh, it doesn't. Most of keepin's comments are nonsensical and off target. I think he has a big wheel with inane quips and sound bites. He occasionally gives it a spin and posts whatever comes up.

  • corey3rd May 20, 10:07 a.m.

    Rich get richer and the working class gets the shaft.

  • JustAName May 20, 9:22 a.m.

    "Doesn't matter. Wages are almost always higher for manufacturing jobs in the north than they are in the south."

    With the exodus in the midwest states, that may no longer be true. And if the plant in Ohio isn't union, then it may well be cheaper. Of course, there is also the possibility that it is cheaper to move production than to rebuild/expand on the plant in Garner.

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