Approximately 55 employees have been laid off as Central Minnesota Renewables in Little Falls shut its doors.
The company made products ranging from nail polish remover to lighter fluid using chemicals made from corn.
According to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice (WARN) Act notice, the layoff was scheduled for Friday, June 21.
According to Eric, Lee, who worked at the Little Falls site and is vice president of operations and engineering for Green Biologics, which owns Central Minnesota Renewables, the timing of the layoffs was still being discussed Thursday.
While he was proud of the work the company was doing, it was unable to stay in business, Lee said.
“Unfortunately, like many startups, we didn’t make it,” he said. “It’s very much a disappointment.”
Little Falls Mayor Greg Zylka said it is sad to see over 50 people lose their jobs.
Thankfully, there are open jobs in town for the laid off workers and the city is continuing to work at bringing in more, Zylka said.
“There are people that are looking to come in to Little Falls,” he said.
One challenge going forward will be to find a business that would move into the facility, Zylka said.
Carol Anderson, executive director of Morrison County Community Development agreed this would be an issue.
“The plant is highly specialized now,” she said.
From what Anderson has heard, converting the facility back to producing regular ethanol, which is what the previous owner did, is impossible without significant renovations.
No local public funds were ever given to the business, Anderson said.
The state is sending a rapid response team to help workers find new jobs or training, Anderson said.
She encouraged those who are laid off to get in contact with the CareerForce Center in Little Falls.
They can make appointments in person or over the phone, (320) 232-2000, with Bonnie Becker or Nick Beck.
Green Biologics purchased the Little Falls plant in 2014.