EVART — Vitro announced recently that it will be closing its automotive glass plant in Evart.
With COVID-19's impact on the United State's automotive industry and economic impact from the response to the virus on top of the existing challenges and increased competition that flooded the market with too much glass, the plant confirmed its closure on Wednesday, April 8 in a post on its employee website stating the company would be closing the Evart location on June 30.
“This is a very challenging time in our country and a very difficult decision for our company,‘ Vitro Auto President Salvador Minarro said in a press release. “But our focus now is on supporting our employees and their families throughout this transition.‘
Originally Pittsburgh Glass Works, which closed its doors in 2009 and then re-opened in 2011, Vitro purchased the location in 2016.
As of February 2019, Vitro was the second-largest employer in Evart with 117 employees. At the time of the announcement Wednesday, the plant had 125 employees.
Hersey resident Felicia Lewis, who has three children, has worked at the plant since 2018.
"After hearing the news (about layoffs and crew changes), I had a feeling we were going to shut down, but I had hoped not," she said. "I have three children though so this closure is going to have a big impact on my life."
Lewis said she was depending on her position at the plant to keep her family afloat and is now unsure what she is going to do.
"I am recently single and just got my own place, I was depending on my job to keep myself and my family above water. Now, that's not going to happen," Lewis said. "(...) I have a high monthly rent and vehicle payment, not to mention insurance, so I really need what I was being paid, if not more."
Despite knowing she is going to struggle through this, Lewis said she is going to miss her job for more than just the money.
"I am sad that they are closing because I actually enjoyed my job there and it's hard to find a job that you can enjoy sometimes," she said.
Depending on automakers’ schedules for restarting production, there may be an opportunity for the Evart plant to temporarily restart operation for a limited period of time before closing at the end of June.