Seaforth Creamery will shut doors next fall; 180 people out of work


Photo courtesy of Sean Davies. Taken Dec. 26, 2011. See more of his photos on Flickr.

HEATHER BOA Bullet News SEAFORTH – Doors will close at Seaforth Creamery by fall 2013, putting about 180 people out of work at the salad dressing manufacturing plant.

In a press release posted today on parent company TreeHouse Foods, Inc.’s website, it said the closure comes after a “reviewing the operations and identifying excess capacity and opportunities to lower production costs.”

In its quarterly report for shareholders, it announced production will stop by March 31, 2013 with a full closure by Sept. 30, 2013.

Total costs to close the Seaforth facility are estimated at about $17.3 million. Production will be moved to other manufacturing facilities within the company’s existing network.

“The closure will lead to increased efficiencies as we move dressing production to those plants where we have expanded capacity and invested in new lines over the last two years,” said Sam K. Reed, who is chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Seaforth Creamery was a private, family-run company until it was sold to E.D. Smith Income Fund or $95.2 million in 2006. At the time of its sale, it was Canada’s largest private-label salad dressing manufacturer. In 2007, TreeHouse Foods, Inc. bought the investment fund.

The mayor of Huron East, the municipality in which the creamery is located, said the announcement is “bad news.”

Bernie MacLellan said there were be no indications that the closure was coming.

“I truly believe that the executives in Seaforth were maybe not aware that any of this was even possibly happening,” said MacLellan, adding that even a few weeks ago they took part in the warden’s golf tournament to raise money for Habit for Humanity Huron County.

He said the company has been good corporate citizens over the years.

MacLellan has not talked to management since the announcement was made public today. He said they are busy speaking to employees.

He would like to know whether the company will gut the building and take the equipment or try to sell the building so that another company can move in to begin a manufacturing business, using the trained workforce that is already available.

“Then there’s opportunity to get these people back to work,” he said.

According to the Huron Manufacturing Association, the company was founded as the Seaforth Creamery in 1914. In the 1970s, it began

Photo taken Aug. 8, courtesy of Monica Walker-Bolton.

to focus on spreadable dairy products and in the 1990s it moved into salad dressings and mayonnaise. Presently it manufactures pourable dressings, barbecue sauces, mayonnaise and other products. More than 700 products come off the manufacturing line, packed into six million cases yearly.

TreeHouse Foods, Inc., produces jams and pie fillings under the E.D. Smith brand name.

Production at the Mendota, Illinois soup facility is also expected to stop in the first quarter of 2013, with full plant closure expected in the second quarter of 2013.


Written by on August 8, 2012 in Communities, Huron East, Seaforth - 1 Comment

One Comment on "Seaforth Creamery will shut doors next fall; 180 people out of work"

  1. K. John Hazlitt August 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm · Reply

    It is very difficult to compete in the world market when we tend to set ourselves up as the perfect business climate. So we have to ask ourselves this: was our production costs too high and why ie product and labour; and were our transportation costs too high to get our product to world market.The quality of the product is not in question. Of course, there is that business faction that will do a buyout and raid the treasury, leave with the funds and use all kinds of excuses to justify the means and that is mostly to answer to the shareholders who by their very nature always want a profit no matter what the cost to family suffering.

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