Wise Manufacturing Plant in Piggott closing its doors in May 2012

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

PIGGOTT, AR (KAIT) - On Thursday, Scott Hoffman, President and CEO of the Wise Manufacturing Plant in Piggott, officially notified Piggott Mayor Gerald Morris that the Piggott plant would be closing on or before May 31,  2012.

Hoffman says in his letter to Morris that, "The closure is due to a corporate wide reorganization." He also said the company will be working with the Governor's Dislocated Worker's Task Force to assist their workers in finding other employment.

Tommy Risinger is a former city councilman and also manages the NAPA Auto Parts store. Risinger says local businesses will feel it when WISE closes.

"You don't want to lose nothing in any town. The economy the way it is, It's hard to replace it now a days. Not just anybody is going to come to your little town to put in a business."

Risinger has friends at the plant who told him that over the years the workforce has dropped.

"Some employees would get a few more hours but as time went along they started cutting down and it's really getting slim."

According to Mayor Gerald Morris there are only 45 workers left. In fact the parking lot was empty since the company doesn't work on Fridays anymore.

Risinger, "I'll miss them cause they do a lot of business with me here at the part store and other places in town so it will be a big loss for the town."

WISE first came to Piggott in 1983. WISE also has a plant in Rector, built new in 2003. No word on what will happen to it. The company's primary products are seats for boats and certain types of vehicles and marine equipment.

One place the city will feel the loss directly, is from the sale of power to the factory, located next to the cities generating facility.

Risinger, "One of our bigger consumers on electricity so as they fall down, we fall down so anytime you lose a business, everybody loses."

As to the loss of jobs, the letter to the mayor says the company will be working with the Governor's Dislocated Workers Task Force to help them find new jobs.

Risinger says he thought about half the workers lived in Piggott, the rest he thought lived in Missouri.

Risinger, "The employees at the WISE company will spend their money in their own home town and we will miss that."

The company did not respond to our requests for an interview.

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