FENNIMORE, Wis. — A major manufacturing plant in Fennimore will close its doors after more than 50 years operating in the community, officials confirmed Tuesday.
Energizer Holdings Inc. confirmed to the Telegraph Herald that its plants in Fennimore and Portage are slated for closure.
“Energizer Holdings recently met with representatives from Local 695 and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters regarding our intent to conduct a phased closing of our Portage and Fennimore facilities in Wisconsin,” an Energizer Holdings spokesperson wrote in a statement. “We have no plans to close additional facilities. As we work toward a final resolution in Wisconsin, we will continue to focus on our colleagues — the people closest to this issue and who matter most.”
Officials with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced last month that the Fennimore and Portage sites were anticipated to close in the next 12 to 24 months. At the time, Energizer Holdings said in a statement that the company was communicating with employees and union officials about “the future” of the two plants but declined to comment further.
The battery factory is one of Fennimore’s largest employers and has been in the town since 1970, previously operating as Rayovac and Spectrum Brands.
Ron Brisbois, executive director of Grant County Economic Development Corp., said Tuesday that about 200 people stand to be laid off at the Fennimore plant.
Last week, he met with representatives from several area stakeholders, including Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the City of Fennimore and Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, to discuss the future of the plant and steps to be taken if it should close.
“We were kind of anticipating the worst — that the plant will be closing — so this is falling in line with what our planning was at that time,” he said. “ … Making sure that the displaced workers are aware of the opportunities that are available to them is our No. 1 focus right now, whether it be training or job opportunities.”
Union spokesperson Kara Deniz confirmed in an email Tuesday that union representatives met with Energizer regarding the closure. She said the company told Teamsters representatives that Energizer plans to “reduce the workforce over time and close,” though she said she could not provide additional details on the timeline for the closure.
“The Teamsters are continuing to fight to keep these jobs in the community,” Deniz wrote.
Brisbois said he has not communicated with Energizer officials regarding the closure, but he hopes to work with them to gain more information on the future of the company’s building in Fennimore after production ceases.
“What does Energizer plan to do with that facility, and is it a potential opportunity for my office to work to attract a new business into Fennimore?” he said. “As I’ve said, workforce comes first, and then we’ll look at the future reuse of that facility if that becomes available.”