Unable to renew its lease, equipment supplier Plastics Extrusion Machinery LLC will close its facility in Tumwater, Wash., and consolidate operations at a larger headquarters site under construction in McPherson, Kan.
Company officials offered workers a chance to relocate to McPherson, where a 150,000-square-foot facility with 120,000 square feet of production space is expected to open in the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Some employees will make the move, others will be able to work remotely in Washington and some will be laid off.
Twenty-one PEM workers will be out of work effective April 30, according to information filed in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
PEM officials had planned to stay in Tumwater and expand there, too, according to PEM CEO and owner Nathan Spearman, who purchased the company in 2017.
"However, due to a misunderstanding we were recently notified that our lease in Washington would not be renewed," Spearman said in a video posted on the company's website.
Company officials had to quickly review their options. They decided to consolidate Washington operations into Kansas, where they are doubling their footprint.
PEM produces equipment for the PVC pipe and custom profile markets, including pipe belling machines, pipe and profile pullers, pipe bundlers, and hydrostatic testing machines.
As PEM consolidates, Spearman asked customers for patience. He said equipment moved from Washington will be stored until the new facility is done. More staff is being hired to replace those not continuing their employment with the company.
"The decision to make the Washington move during the same year we are moving into our new Kansas facility was not ideal from a timing standpoint, but from a long-term perspective is the best solution moving forward," Spearman said.
There may be some interruption to PEM's production schedule, but the change is expected to have little effect on customers, company officials said.
"I truly believe this consolidation, along with our renewed efforts to streamline our engineering and production processes, will allow us to be more agile and significantly improve our production times moving forward," Spearman said. "These changes might pose some temporary difficulty, but the long-term benefits are worth it."
Source: Plastics News