Berne Car Part Plant to Close

(Verbatim, from our news partners at 21 Alive) – Employees at a car part manufacturer in Berne had their worlds spun upside-down today when they were notified their company is in the middle of a “transition.”

Ficosa North America, which manufactures exterior mirrors for Toyota and Chrysler, presented its 150 employees with a 60-day notice Friday morning. What that letter means is by May they could be out of a job.

With it being such a large employer in the small community of Berne, the news came as quite the shock.

While exact specifics are still being sorted out and discussed, the community was buzzing Friday night. Along with many employees, other residents were shocked to hear of the plant’s possible closure.

“It’ll be huge. I mean it’s not a massive town and we need all the jobs we can get, even with the plant still in business” says Mary Ann Seavers, the manager of a local restaurant.

“We’ve weathered this before, and we’ll weather it again” Michael Kelly, the owner of the Berne Trading Company, pointed out. “This is a good, solid, friendly community. And I’m sure we’ll attract the right kind of (new) business.”

As Kelly points out this is not the first time this has happened to Ficosa employees. The plant cut its workforce practically in half back in July 2011.

But the plant’s closure will have more than just the emotional impact on the community. By putting that many people out of a job it will likely take a toll on the local economy as well.

While not all Ficosa employees live in Berne, a majority of them still shop in the area. So as jobs leave Berne, the additional revenue those employees brought to town will go with it.