DeKalb Co officials say Shaw plant’s closure will impact more than Valley Head

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VALLEY HEAD, Ala. -- Nearly 200 employees at Shaw Industries in DeKalb County are now looking for a new job, and Shaw Industries representatives say the company will be offering multiple avenues for job opportunities and retraining. DeKalb County officials say the plant's closure will affect not only Valley Head, but the county as a whole.

Wednesday, employees at the Shaw Industries plant in Valley Head went to work one day after learning they would have to find a new job soon. That plant will shut its doors most likely in June.

The company plans to shift production from that plant into other facilities across Georgia and Alabama, basing the move off of a change in consumer preference.

That will impact 183 jobs. "Anytime people lose jobs, it's going to have an impact not just in Valley Head, but across the county," DeKalb County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Jimmy Durham says, "Most of the employees came from outside Valley Head, from out on Sand Mountain, Georgia."

This comes almost a year after the company announced 160 jobs cut at its Valley Head plant. Because of that, this closure wasn't fully unexpected.

Now, county leaders are looking to the future, with plans to work with Shaw to put another industry in the building as soon as possible. "We're going to work real closely with them and try to get somebody in there that's going to employ a lot of people," Durham says.

"As soon as Shaw gives us the go ahead, we'll kind of hit the ground running with some specs and dimensions on the building and try to get somebody back in Valley Head," Valley Head Mayor Scott Gifford says.

While the plant hailed employees from all over the county and surrounding areas, the plant's closure will be felt in the town. "Town residents may see a rate increase in their water later down the road because of it, so we don't know where that's going to be," Gifford says.

The impact will be felt in utilities, in tax revenues, and in other areas. "They don't have a lot of retail stores, but that will impact that somewhat. I think the of course the biggest loss will be utility and property taxes," Durham says.

The consolidation process will begin in May. Shaw representatives say there will be opportunities for employees at other Shaw facilities. Company officials say there are multiple other industries close by that are hiring.

County officials say other industries in the area are expanding, and that could provide opportunities for Shaw employees.