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UPDATE: Johnson City tape maker will close next year

Nathan Baker • Updated Jul 11, 2018 at 6:15 PM

Seventy workers at a Johnson City tape manufacturer will lose their jobs next year when the plant closes, a business decision a spokesperson said would protect the rest of the company and its 2,800 employees.

“These are always difficult decisions when they involve employees,” said Ross Marshall, spokesman for Intertape Polymer Group, parent company of Cantech Industries.

Marshall said the facility, at which workers make carton-sealing and strapping tapes, will close in the first half of 2019. A program has been put in place to aid the affected employees at the Eddie Williams Road plant, but Marshall did not provide details of the program.

Intertape Polymer acquired Cantech and its three manufacturing facilities last July in a $67 million deal. The global company, headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, and Sarasota, Florida, makes tapes, films and fabrics for industrial and retail use at plants in North America, Europe and Asia.

Marshall said neither of the other Cantech facilities, both in Canada, will close. He said the business decision was not related to the trade spat currently going on between the U.S. and Canada, in which the countries are hiking taxes on each other’s exports.

Alicia Summers, Vice President of Business Development for the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, said the company’s announcement was unexpected.

After Intertape Polymer bought the plant, local economic development officials met with company representatives in the spring, and did not get any indication that layoffs or a shutdown was coming, she said.

Summers said company leaders have not contacted her, but Economic Partnership staff is ready to help affected employees and to market the building to prospective employers if they do.

At approximately 110,000 square feet, Summers said the building fits within a size range needed by other manufacturers searching for new facilities.

“We’ll be sad to see Cantech go,” she said. “They’ve been a part of our manufacturing since 1983.”

Cantech extended into Johnson City that year from its headquarters in Montreal. Ten years later, the company installed new equipment to produce materials used in the tape-making process. In 2015, a new production line was installed to make strapping tape products.

In 2016, Tennessee Community Organizations, a trade association supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, gave Cantech the East Tennessee Region Business of the Year Award of Excellence for its work with Dawn of Hope to hire disabled employees.

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Previously reported

Tape manufacturer Cantech Industries will close its Johnson City facility next year, making what a company spokesperson said was a “business decision.”

Employees were notified this week of the coming closure of the Eddie Williams Road plant in the first half of 2019.

Spokesperson Ross Marshall said a program has been put in place for the employees who will be losing their jobs, but he did not discuss the details of the program.

According to a directory of local manufacturers maintained by the Washington County Economic Development Council, Cantech employed 69 people in its facility in an east Johnson City industrial park.

The company is based in Montreal, Quebec, and employs 250 people in three locations, Johnson City, Montreal and Cornwall, Ontario. Marshall said none of the other facilities would close.

Cantech opened its Johnson City plant in 1983, making carton-sealing tapes. Ten years later, it installed new equipment to produce materials used to make the tape. In 2015, a new production line was installed to produce strapping tape products.

The company was acquired for $67 million last July by Intertape Polymer Group, a manufacturer of tapes, films and fabrics for industrial and retail use. Intertape Polymer, headquartered in Montreal and Sarasota, Florida, employs 2,500 people in 21 locations, including manufacturing plants in North America, Europe and Asia.

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