NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Economic developers are trying to negate the economic impact the closure of a Coca-Cola plant in Nacogdoches could have on the city.
Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages has announced plans to close its manufacturing facility in Nacogdoches, resulting in the layoffs of 74 workers. The company said terminations will take place during the 14-day period beginning April 3. Seventy-four positions would be affected.
However, the economic impact from the closure could actually be ‘zero’, if economic developers work fast enough to get those 74 employees retrained for new jobs in the city, and if a tenant for the Industrial Drive plant is found, according to the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation.
In addition, on his very first day as interim city manager, Rod Hogan said networking is essential in times like these. Hogan works for the search firm currently gathering applicants for the city manager job.
Interim Nacogdoches city manager Rod Hogan’s first day on the job included staff introductions, but also absorbing the news of Coca-Cola’s future plant closure.
"Industry and manufacturers make those decisions all the time. And they do it for their own reasons," said Hogan
The veteran city leader saw it happen during the 35 years he was in upper management for the city of Plano. He saw it in cities across the state that he served on an interim basis through the search firm SGR. He thinks in Nacogdoches, he’ll have something to bring to the table
"Maybe I don't have the answers, but I may perhaps know someone in the industry that's an expert on the answers,” shared Hogan. “And now that I'm working for SGR, that opens up a ton of resources because they have connections all over the country."
Economic developers sprang into action less than 24 hours after learning of the future plant closure. Included at the top of the list is to find a tenant for the soon-to-be vacant manufacturing facility.
According to Larissa Philpot, the director of the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation, there are already two, maybe three prospects interested in the facility.
A second must-to-do is to keep the 74 employees currently working at Southwest Beverages in Nacogdoches. That means to find them a job by April when terminations begin.
"In this community today with the unemployment rate being so low we can absorb these folks relatively easy,” said Nacogdoches Chamber president Wayne Mitchell. “And some of these folks will be given opportunities they didn't know existed."
City leaders show confidence.
“I know we will come together and try to help, find jobs, for any displaced worker,” says Nacogdoches Mayor Shelley Brophy.