HON Company in Florence to Close; 190 Workers to Lose Jobs

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – More manufacturing jobs are leaving Florence after the second announcement of a shut-down in just over a month.

After a record setting 2013 in job creation in the Shoals, HON company became the second corporation in the first half of 2014 to say they are closing their plant.

HON produces commercial office furniture at their Florence plant and employ 190 people.

Steve holt, president of the Shoals Chamber of Commerce said both Hillshire Brands and HON Company were in the midst of restructuring when the announcements came down.

“They`re both dealing with larger companies with multiple plants at excess capacity,” explained Holt, “and we ended up paying the price on this end of it in our community.”

Gary Carlson, a spokesman for HON, said their corporate team spent a long time studying their structure, and made the hard decision to close the Florence plant.

Carlson went on to say the plant`s closure had nothing to do with the exceptional employees who report to work there each day.

He said the decision came down to cost of operations and the ability to move production to an existing facility.

“At least you know that it wasn’t because of the work-force that they are leaving. It`s another business decision and that`s a reality of life, that`s the hard pill to swallow,” stated Holt.

A reality 190-employees will now have to face at some point before the end of 2014.

HON Company officials said they will begin shutting down operations in phases which could begin in the next 3-months.

Employees will be offered a severance package which includes transition help.

Hillshire Brands announced on April 4th they would be shutting down operations of their Florence plant by the end of 2014, with 1,100 people losing their jobs.


  • Say What

    Some jobs in north Alabama are lost while some jobs are coming to our area. Is anyone going to do the math and let us know if is a net loss or gain from all this jobs musical chairs?

    • Jon

      I would say net loss. The jobs that are coming in are paying far less than these somewhat decent manufacturing jobs. Sad day, as this was one of the few places for people in western Lauderdale county to find work.

    • WWG3

      It is appearing like nothing but a net loss – the paper mill, TVA, the breakfast sandwich place (used to Jimmy Deans), HON – that is near 3000 jobs and nothing has come along in coming close to those numbers. I am expecting the railroad to be soon – loosing Champion and the TVA steam plant soon – that is a lot of lost revenue for the railroad.

      • Say What

        I thought Republicans were job creators? Maybe people need to remember this in November!

  • Steve Fuller

    “NAFTA” anyone remember this? Both Republican and Democrats have sold us out to Mexico. Where are all the great jobs that were promised to replace those lower end jobs sent to Mexico? A Nation divided against its self can not stand. While we fight a among ourselves for gay marriage, abortion ect our politicians are selling us out. Both Republican and Democrats…….

  • gerry


    • Say What

      Gerry, are you trying to convince us that this only start in 2010 with the signing of the Affordable Care Act? How is that true?

      Also, didn’t you know that conservatives are suppose to be moving their rage away from Obama care now that it starting to working? Conservatives are suppose to be all upset about Benghazi (again)!!!!!!

      • Say What

        I just saw on TV that the Republicans are exploiting the deaths of our embassy members by fundraising off the Benghazi attack. They are sending out emails saying that for a suggested minimum donation of $25.00 you can become a Benghazi watchdog!! Send in your money today!!

  • Patrick

    Say what, so health care cost sky rocking and people losing their coverage shows that Obamacare working? I know that’s not how it was sold. I lost count of the people whose premium DOUBLED to pay for other people’s welfare.

    YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A JOB, a job is not a right, you have to go and get the work. Say what you probably didn’t buy any furniture from HON or any breakfast sandwiches from Jimmy Dean, so where is your support. OH wait you expected Obama to bail them out right??? That’s what the democrat answer is to everything – take money from me to give to someone else.

    • Say What

      Patrick, your facts just are not facts. The latest numbers are very positive for Obamacare!

      • Big Earl

        Would you like to show us where this great data is ,please share those positive numbers with us .and let all of see the positive impact Obamacare is having on people. if you cant we will understand.

      • Say What

        Earl, since the facts don’t fit your worldview, I expect that you will attack the messenger when you criticize the source I posted below. Everyday I am hearing even more positive stories. Just today, I heard on a Nashville radio station that Tennessee is a raging success story for Obamacare. Tennessee Blue Cross and Blue Shield is loving the numbers in that state! The healthcare cost curve is bending down for the first time in decades. More people are getting coverage that use to be denied for pre-existing conditions. Young people are staying on their parents plans while at college. There are so many good things happening that I can not even list them all here!!!


        The only dark clouds are the states that refuse to expand medicaid. Recent estimates show that up to 6,000 people will die each year as a result of that group being left out in the cold by those governors.


  • Cari

    Patrick, not that we don’t love you’re ranting like an ignorant maniac, but at least read the previous comments & make a reply that relates &… you know… makes some kind of sense?

  • Tim

    Y’all can’t blame this one on Obamacare none of these places participated in it. if our governor wasn’t trying to look out for his doctor friends our insurance rates in this state would be far lower. look at Kentucky for example. it’s time to clean house in Montgomery

  • Geoff

    Has anyone thought about the 1/2 percent sales tax increase that has been in affect now for 4 yrs. This money is suppose to bring in jobs to Lauderdale and Colbert counties so they said. Where are those jobs that our local leaders said would be here? Better yet, where is all that money going? This fund is called the S.E.D.A.?????

  • Cynthia King

    Just a new transition for my husband and I because he works at the Hon, at least until August. Our faith is still in God and He will always make a way for us. He is our provider. Will continue to trust HIM!


    It is about automation/skill/wage… Alabama has become a victim of what we advertise…Low Pay, Low Skill and Low Cost of Living… We are the fourth poorest state in the nation…. Doing the same thing expecting different results is insanity… Eienstien

  • rich6334

    I work @ Hon I been there for 6 years and we the employees been seeing this comming . We have asked upper mangment and corparate for the past 3 or 4 years if we were closing they assured us even 1 or 2 months ago we would not shut down there is no immeidate plan to shut down that we were still pro fitting etc.etc. but they must have known this and lied to us. There are good people there that have worked there 20 and 30 years but this is what happens when we subject ourselves to work for others instead of taking responsabilty to create something on our own . Yeah the Shoals area is getting hit hard with bad finance now I guess we wait and see if we can produce something or fall down and not get up . I will miss my job mostly the commeradrie we the employees built with each other . God Bless them all from both plants hilshire and hon .

  • Shakedown

    Sorry to hear about HON leaving. At least some businesses are sticking with the Shoals area. NAL just opened their 3rd expansion earlier this year. Hopefully by next year it will be at full capacity and we can take on some of these displaced workers. God bless the families of these workers. This area is a great place to live – I think more manufacturing companies will come.

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