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Company lays off 55 workers

April 14, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Hess-Armaclad, a Quincy, Pa., door maker, filed for bankruptcy this week for the second time since 1999 and announced the layoff of 55 of its 60 employees, its president said Friday.

Jeff Rock said he is stepping down as owner after 10 years. Rock said he expects the company at 6806 Anthony Highway to be bought out in the coming weeks by a group of investors who will get it back on its feet. He said the company has been undercapitalized.

"There's every indication that the new owners will do well," Rock said.

Details still have to be worked out, he said.

"It could be two or three weeks before it's back in full production," Rock said.

Rock said he told his workers they may be able to hire on with the new owners.

L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., said he has been working with interested parties who might buy the company.

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"We believe there's an excellent opportunity to reorganize the company and turn it around," Ross said.

He said Hess-Armaclad has cash-flow problems.

"There's a backlog of sales and their products have market acceptance. They simply don't have enough cash to meet their shipments or buy materials," he said.

"This is very disappointing to the workers and their families," Rock said.

Harold Hess started the company as Hess Manufacturing in 1947 to make aluminum storm windows. Window production stopped in 1999, the year Hess Manufacturing first filed for bankruptcy. Company officials blamed competition from major manufacturers.

Rock and his father, Raymond Rock, bought the controlling shares of Hess Manufacturing in 1993.

In July 2001, Rock and three investors changed the name of the company to Hess-Armaclad and limited their product line to aluminum-clad entrance doors and enclosure systems. It also began to retail its products that year.

The company worked its way out of bankruptcy in January 2001.

Rock's announcement marks the second time this week that workers in a Franklin County manufacturing plant learned they are losing jobs.

AMETEK Inc., a Chambersburg, Pa., maker of electric motors for the appliance industry, announced it was closing its plant at a loss of 180 jobs. Company officials said they are sending the work to their plants in Mexico and China.

At the same time, officials at the new Target Distribution Center in Chambersburg said they are still short more than 200 workers at their giant warehouse which is scheduled to open in June.

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