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Company will assist outgoing employees

Those interested may seek opportunities

April 18, 2008
By FRANK JOST, Sentinel assistant editor,
LEWISTOWN — The planned closure of a Belleville dairy plant is part of its parent corporation’s effort to achieve greater efficiency in its overall operations, a representative for Texas-based Dean Foods said Thursday.

“We’re looking at all of our capacity across the board right now, and we’re in a position where we have to look at the consumers’ needs and the need to relocate some of our production,” company spokeswoman Marguerite Copel said.

“This has nothing to do with the quality of the facility or the people that work there — they’re great,” Copel said.

Employees at the Fairmont Products dairy plant in Belleville were informed Tuesday that the facility will be closing in October.

Copel said the closure will affect 82 employees at the plant, but Dean Foods will offer them the opportunity to move elsewhere within the company.

“We’re developing that plan right now. We will offer those who are interested the opportunity to seek a position elsewhere (with the company),” Copel said.

“We also realize that a number of the employees may not wish to leave the area. We will assist them with outplacement. We will assist them with developing their resumes and finding new jobs,” she continued.

Copel also said the company’s plans for the site after the plant closes are uncertain at this time.

Dean Foods is a leading food and beverage company and the largest processor and distributor of milk and other dairy products in the country.

The company sells products such as Silk soy milk, Horizon Organic milk and other dairy products, International Delight coffee creamers, Land O'Lakes creamers and other liquid dairy products.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, Dean Food’s dairy group net sales totaled $2.8 billion, a 26.4 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2006, according to the company’s Web site,'>

However, the company also reported a more than $40 million decrease in net income for the same time period, according to the Web site.

The Fairmont facility manufactures various dairy products for Dean Foods, such as cottage cheese and ice cream.

Union Township officials plan to meet with state and federal representatives today to discuss a plan for moving forward in the face of the plant’s impending closure.

Fact Box


“(The closure of Fairmont Products)
has nothing to do with the quality of
the facility or the people that work
there — they’re great.”

Marguerite Copel
Dean Foods spokeswoman



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