DUNLAP, Tenn. — Tecumseh Products’ last day of production on Friday marked the end of an era in Sequatchie County, officials with the local chamber of commerce said.
“It’s been 20 good years, and we appreciate every year that they’ve been here,” said Howard Hatcher, executive director of the Sequatchie County-Dunlap Chamber of Commerce. “We wish all those employees the very best.”
Local and company officials now are seeking a new employer to call the facility home, he said.
“We’re going to give our best effort along with the city and county to get someone else in that facility,” he said.
Tecumseh provided as many as 600 jobs in the Sequatchie Valley at its peak. In October, Tecumseh officials announced that the Dunlap facility was closing because of “declining customer volume,” and about 165 workers learned they would be idled by layoffs that began in early December.
Plant Manager Kevin Brady said Friday was “a sad day” for the plant and the community.
“Now we’re going into the wind-down phase,” he said. “We’ll be down to 15 folks from here to March.”
The company is actively seeking a buyer for the building, the business or both, Mr. Brady said.
“The building is being marketed through the Southeast Tennessee Development District, and we’ve had some inquiries,” he said. “We’re doing anything we can to sell the building or sell the business.”
Some out-of-state companies have made inquiries through a third party, he said, but the companies didn’t identify themselves or give details about what drew their interest.
Dunlap’s workers bear no blame for the plant closure, he said.
“The folks here did everything they needed to do and I’m proud of them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the remaining workers at the Dunlap plant will ready it for shutdown.
“Obviously, it’s something you wouldn’t want to have happen,” Mr. Brady said. “So it gets quiet from here on out.”
Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...