St George News

Viracon, Inc. closing St. George plant, 222 face unemployment

ST. GEORGE – The architectural glass manufacturer Viracon, Inc. announced this week that it will be temporarily closing its St. George plant in mid-April for an estimated two years, contingent on its market recovery. The closing of the plant will cost over 200 jobs locally and may impact City funding for affordable housing projects, among other things.

The plant, located at 1586 East Venture Drive, is the smallest of Viracon’s manufacturing facilities and opened in May 2007 to meet growing customer demands in the southwestern United States. It created over 200 jobs for Washington County workers.

Located in the Fort Pierce Business Park, Viracon has been the principal business in the City of St. George’s Community Development Area and Fiscal Year 2012 was the last incentive year for it. As part of the adopted budgets for the Fort Pierce Economic Development Agency Districts, the St. George Redevelopment Agency is required to use 20 percent of the tax increments received to fund affordable housing projects within the City.

Both Felix Vega and his wife work at the plant and are now facing an uncertain future, like the couple hundred other local Viracon employees.

“I do not know where we can turn next,” Vega said. “This will make problems for many others too. It is sad.”

Viracon released the following statement Tuesday:

Viracon, Inc., the nation’s leading single-source architectural glass fabricator, announced plans to temporarily cease operations at the smallest of its three United States manufacturing locations. Viracon announced today that it will close its St. George, Utah plant for approximately two years beginning in mid-April 2013. The temporary closure will better align overall capacity with the demand expected over the next two years, which can be served from Viracon’s two other U.S. locations. The company also plans to upgrade the coating capabilities at the St. George plant to expand the plant’s product offerings before reopening. The plant closing will impact 222 employees.

“This was a very difficult but necessary decision that we had hoped to avoid,” Viracon President Kelly Schuller said. “Our St. George workforce has done a great job, but the prolonged construction downturn required us to act to improve our operating efficiencies and maintain our competitive position.”

Relocation opportunities are being discussed with employees on a case-by-case basis. The 210,000 square foot St. George manufacturing facility will be retained and improved by Viracon during the closure. In particular, the company plans to upgrade the coating capabilities at the St. George plant before reopening, as the market recovers, which is expected to be in approximately two years.

Production schedules, deliveries and lead times will be unaffected by the temporary closure. Production will be absorbed in one of the company’s other two U.S. manufacturing facilities located in Owatonna, Minn. and Statesboro, Ga.

Viracon is based in Owatonna, Minn. and has facilities in Statesboro, Ga., St. George, Utah and Nazaré Paulista, Brazil. Viracon produces high-performance glass products, including tempered, laminated, insulating, silk-screened and high-performance coatings, for North American and international markets. The company is a subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises, Inc. Apogee, headquartered in Minneapolis, is a leader in technologies involving the design and development of value-added glass products and services.

The discussion above contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements reflect Apogee management’s expectations or beliefs as of the date of this release.

Viacon’s qualifications to its statement are set forth in greater detail on the Washington County Development Council’s website.

St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report.

Email: avmorgan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, StGeorgeUtah.com Inc., 2013, all rights reserved.

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  14 Comments
  1. Frank Segesman February 13, 2013 at 7:50 am · Reply

    This is only temporary. Obama will only be in office for three years. Then, assuming people vote using logic instead of feelings, this economy will get back in shape. Too bad for these 200+ workers, but it is all part of the current administrations plan.

  2. Rhonda McDonald February 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm · Reply

    How can putting hundreds of workers out of work be a part of any plan? My understanding of the government and community is to help when a very large portion of this communuity loses jobs, doesn’t it affect the whole area?
    I am one of those hundreds that will be out of work because of this closure. I have no idea what I am going to do. Or even how I am going to be able to a keep a roof over my families heads. This job was everything to me and I was very happy working for Viracon. I can only hope that I will be available to go back to work for them in 2 years when the decide to open back up.
    Mean while, I am not only losing my job, but health insurance and plus have to cash out my retirement fund.
    How is any of this a plan? What is it rip and tear everyone down working ourselves to death to have nothing in the end?
    Makes no sense to me.

    • Lisa February 13, 2013 at 11:57 pm · Reply

      I wish you and your coworkers the best in these difficult times. It is very unfortunate,

  3. DoubleTap February 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm · Reply

    Voting has consequences….

  4. Hinge Thunder February 13, 2013 at 5:13 pm · Reply

    So, anyway, how’s that whole hopey-changey thang workin’ out for y’all?

  5. Steven Allen February 14, 2013 at 6:36 am · Reply

    Don’t worry Obama said in the State of the Union he will do something about it so all is well. All hail King Obama.

    • Facebook is wasting Lives February 15, 2013 at 1:19 am · Reply

      :)

  6. Chris Bawden February 14, 2013 at 11:37 am · Reply

    It’s a fairly unfortunate situation, but one with which I am afraid was inevitable, looking back at it all now. I too, like Rhonda, am going to be out of a job because of this. However, this is not nearly as bad as the last time I had to deal with this at Cabinetec. Viracon is providing us with so much support in trying to make sure they find jobs for those that are in need. The fact that the plant is closing is hard, but it is better than not receiving your check for the hours you’ve worked and being left high and dry.

  7. Maggie February 14, 2013 at 8:23 pm · Reply

    Always sad to see people lose their ability to take care of themselves and their families. I wish all well and hope many, if not all of you find jobs and can stay in this wonderful community. Prayers for all of you and our country.

  8. F%$# up February 15, 2013 at 1:15 am · Reply

    Obama acoounts for some. Congrees counts for more. Oh, don’t forget about Mayor Dan who whistles Dixie and paints the city a fake image…

  9. Facebook is wasting Lives February 15, 2013 at 1:18 am · Reply

    Some optimism and hope as Family Dollar DC is hiring

    • Bob Mackey February 15, 2013 at 5:51 am · Reply

      Family Dollar will shut down within 7 years of opening.

  10. skiplunch February 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm · Reply

    @Frank Segesman
    typical response from a maladjusted ‘publican Utahrd. blame Obama for everything when he’s been cleaning up the mess that Bush left everyone with. newsflash, your party is out and will stay out!

    As for Viralcommie, they don’t give a rat;s patoot about the jobs they’re killing. The only thing that matters is the bottom line. Saving their butts at the expense of others. Corporate America at it’s finest. I feel bad for those losing jobs. I know one of them and he’s scrambling in this one horse, podunk town. Best of luck to you all.

  11. ld February 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm · Reply

    Family dollar has finally opened stores in california,hence the need for a closer distribution center.They have almost 8000 stores and have been around for over 40 years.your prediction of closing in seven years is laughable.

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