DECATUR, Tenn. — Shaw Industries will close its Decatur, Tennessee, plant by the end of August, idling 336 jobs as residential carpet manufacturing operations are moved to Northwest Georgia facilities.
"These decisions are never made lightly," Shaw Vice President of Human Resources Mark Hartline said Wednesday in a statement issued by the company. "The associates at Plant 10 have been instrumental in creating exceptional quality products, and we are committed to supporting them during this transition."
People employed at Plant 10 will have a chance to apply for open positions available at Shaw's other locations in Tennessee, Georgia and throughout the U.S., company officials said. Shaw will also partner with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development and organize career fairs in the Decatur area.
During the past five years, the Dalton, Georgia-based carpet maker, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, has invested in numerous expansion and modernization efforts in the Southeast, company officials said in the statement. Consolidating carpet manufacturing operations will allow Shaw to more fully utilize its assets.
Shaw purchased the facility in Decatur from Fil-Tex Corp. in September 1976, Shaw spokesperson Dana Hartline said in a follow-up email. The building was constructed in 1971.
No other Shaw facilities are affected, Hartline said.
Shaw's plant in Decatur underwent a $42 million expansion in 2017 that added 75 jobs, according to Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The expansion was intended to diversify the company's product mix, officials said at the time.
The closure will be a significant blow to the community, Meigs County Mayor Eddie Jewell said. Shaw is the county's largest employer.
"It's absolutely devastating," Jewell said Thursday in a phone interview. "I think it's going to have ripple effects with retail, our grocery stores. It's going to touch about everybody in our little community, whether they work there or not."
Local officials might join forces with Shaw for future career fairs, Jewell said.
After the Shaw plant shutters, the county's largest employer will probably be Storm Power Components, Jewell said. Storm Power produces electrical components for industries ranging from telecommunications to radars systems, according to information on the company's website.
Workers affected by the closure should contact the state's Dislocated Worker Unit at 615-253-6355 or the state Department of Workforce and Labor Development's website.