The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 16, 2013

Sarcoxie officials work with lender to help company following layoffs

SARCOXIE, Mo. — Sarcoxie officials are working with a lender for Mid-America Hardwoods and its sister company, Heritage Flooring, to do what they can to help keep the business afloat after recent layoffs.

Gary Turner, director of economic development for Sarcoxie, confirmed there have been layoffs at the plant south of town on Missouri Highway 37, but he said he isn’t sure how many workers are affected. He said some employees appear to still be working there.

“We have contacted one of the lenders to let them know if there is anything we can do,” Turner said Friday. “We hate to see it go away, and we want to try and do what we can from the city’s perspective.”

Calls to the company on Thursday and Friday were not returned.

Turner said the business opened in 1979 and at one point was a major employer in the area, with between 150 and 200 people working there. It also had a showroom at one time along the highway displaying the company’s flooring, molding and other hardwood products.

But there have been setbacks along the way, including the tragic death of the founder of the business, Terry Shepherd, in 2000, and a fire in 2007 that destroyed nearly a quarter-million board feet of lumber in a kiln building on Missouri Highway 60 between Granby and Monett.

Turner said the downturn in the housing market with the recent recession also has hurt business for the company, as it has for other related companies.

He said city officials will continue to work with the company, even though it is outside of the city, to try to preserve the jobs.

“We want this to come out as some sort of positive,” he said.

Mid-America Hardwoods also owns a plant in Mississippi, but no information was available on the status of that operation.

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