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Manufacturer of pre-fab buildings closes

April 24, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Franklin County's industrial base took another hit when the owners of C-Lane Inc., makers of prefabricated commercial buildings, announced last month that they were closing the plant.

Doris Pittman, who with her husband, Robert, opened the plant in 1991, said Friday the plant is closing so the couple can retire.

The plant, at 501 S. Cedar Lane, employed about 40 workers. In its busiest years employment was double that, Pittman said.

Michael Ross, director of the Franklin County Area Development Authority in Chambersburg, Pa., said Friday that while the loss of the plant is significant, it does not mean that there are problems with the county's industrial base.

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In the last two months, more than 440 people have lost their jobs to plant closings in Franklin County, Ross said.

"We've been beaten up with plant closings, but it has nothing to do with the economic development climate in Franklin County," he said. "We're the victim of circumstance from buyouts, downsizing, relocations and corporate restructuring."

Among plants that closed in the last two months were Little Tikes Co. in Shippensburg, Pa., at a loss of 300 jobs; the Getinge/Castle Inc. plant in Mercersburg, Pa., which cost 32 jobs; and Pennsylvania Modular Homes in Chambersburg with 110 jobs.

Another significant job loss came when Grove Worldwide of Shady Grove, Pa., dropped about 400 people from its work force after the giant crane maker was bought out by a Texas investment firm a little more than a year ago, Ross said.

Despite the losses, the county is looking at one of its best growth years in terms of employment in years, Ross said.

Since last fall 14, new companies have moved in or are about to move into the county's new industrial park at Letterkenny Army Depot, the land and buildings for which were turned over to the county by the federal government for industrial development.

Ross said those companies have brought in 500 new jobs. "I know we've been hit. But when you look at it on a countywide basis, there are some exciting things happening," he said.

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