Tift Co. distribution closure leaves 200 jobless - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tift Co. distribution closure leaves 200 jobless

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

August 18, 2008

TIFT COUNTY, GA (WALB) - George Wallace was one of the employees at the C.O.I Tift County site who was told about the closure Friday.

And said the news was very hard to swallow. "This company was up and running for a long time, and it was a prosperous company. And to just see it fold like this, it's a hurtful feeling."

The Tennessee based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the end of July. And during the re-organization had to cut funds which led to their decision to close their Tift County location. "We distribute food to a lot of major restaurants like Ryan's, Applebee's Shoney's," said Wallace.

A company spokesperson said it was the Chapter 7 bankruptcy of RoadHouse Bar and Grill that left the company four million dollars in the hole. "Every company is like that. You know the economy is going down, and we just got to keep our heads afloat," said Wallace.

This is actually the second time this has happened to Wallace. "I was working right down the road at Tifton Aluminum when the same thing happened,"

But now the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce is working to help George and the other 200 employees find jobs. "We are trying to be self-reliant about the situation and have a committee called First Focus on Local Business," said President and CEO, Brad Day.

That group is made up of local and state agencies such as the state department of labor, the department of economic development and local temp agencies. "We bring the resources of the state and local government, the non-profit sector, and of the Chamber of Commerce, the local businesses, to help the folks that will be looking for work," said Day.

So that once COI's doors close for good, the people who worked there will still be able to use their skills throughout the community elsewhere.

Severance packages will be made available to some of the employees based on their years of service. The Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce are already marketing the site to other potential businesses.

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