As EZO Copper closes, other Jacksonville businesses open

As EZO Copper closes, other Jacksonville businesses open

JACKSONVILLE (KYTX) - Managers at EZO Copper Production, LLC confirm the company will officially be closed by Thanksgiving. About 85 total employees are losing their jobs.  About 15 have already been let go.

85 percent of the business at EZO was driven by the Carrier plant that recently closed down. EZO employees tell CBS 19 they saw this closure coming, and are staying hopeful for the future.

"Off and on, I worked there for about 20 years," says former employee Mary Harris.

Harris spent most of those 20 years working for Snoke Special Products. That's what EZO was called before it switched ownership in 2010.

"My daughter works at EZO," Harris says.

When her daughter is eventually let go, she and other EZO employees will be covered by unemployment insurance through the U.S. Department of Labor. They qualify for the special unemployment program since their jobs are being moved to Mexico.

"They're sending them to school for a two year course, training, they pay their day care, their gas, so it's really good!" Harris says.

While those workers get free training and school, more opportunities are opening up right in Jacksonville.

"When you look at something like EZO that's leaving, you hope you have something to take it's place. In our case we've just signed a fairly large deal with Stage Stores," says Jacksonville Economic Development Council President Darrell Prcin.

He says the new Stage Stores distribution center will open at the old Astro Air building in town.

"We're looking at a net 200 jobs fairly quickly and over time I think that will grow," Prcin says.

Plus, there's more good news. 

"We have another company called Superior DieCast that has purchased the old TallyHo property and they'll be growing their business there," Prcin reports.

Superior DieCast manufactures auto parts and will also be hiring soon.

"Probably 10-15 but over the next couple years they're looking at growing it to 50 or so," Prcin says.

All this new growth is news to Harris.

"Wow!" she says. "Well it's good to hear that, because people are going to be needing jobs."

Since Superior DieCast is a manufacturing plant, a lot of the EZO employees will have similar skill sets needed for the plant's new hires. Many are hoping to land some of those positions.

Jacksonville currently has more than 60 manufacturing companies, and Prcin is hoping to recruit even more. 

He says EZO's closing won't make a huge economic impact to the city or county, but hopes those 85 employees will be able to find work. 

For more information about EZO, head to the company's web site:

To learn more about the U.S. Department of Labor program being offered to the company's laid off employees, click here:


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