Macro Plastics closes sale on former Buckhorn facility

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By Lisa King

It’s official: The Buckhorn plant that had been targeted for closure in December has been able to stay open under new ownership.

Macro Plastics Manufacturing Co., headquartered in San Francisco, completed its purchase recently of the facility on Pearce Industrial Boulevard in Shelby County that was owned by Buckhorn Inc. and even has hired some of that company’s former employees.

Both companies deal in plastic bulk reusable containers and services, and Buckhorn, based in Akron, Ohio, had announced in September it would be closing the plant because of "asset and product line consolidations."

Jeff Mitchell, vice president of operations for Macro Plastics, said his company plans to expand its manufacturing capabilities with the acquisition of the 162,000-square-foot facility in order to improve its competitiveness in delivering its goods to the agricultural, food, retail and industrial markets in the Central and East Coast regions of the United States.

Libby Adams, executive director of the Shelby County Industrial and Development Foundation, said it was her understanding that the facility initially plans to rehire some of Buckhorn's former employees, and then build up to 35 to 45 employees over the next year and a half.

And Mitchell, a Louisville resident, confirmed that plan. "We have hired 23 people who worked at Buckhorn and hope to grow over the next few years," he said. "We are excited to be in the community."

He added that the company appreciates the cooperation of the industrial foundation in bringing his company's project to Shelbyville.

"This new facility represents an exciting new opportunity for the continued growth of Macro Plastics and a significant reinvestment in the future of manufacturing in Shelbyville," he said.

When Shelby County Fiscal Court voted in December to waive the company's 1 percent occupational tax fee for 5 years if the purchase went through, County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger said he was encouraged that step would help the new facility to grow.

"That money will go back into the company, to permit them to potentially hire more employees back," he said..

Buckhorn did employ 88 workers.

Magistrate Michael Riggs agreed that that deal would be good for Buckhorn.

"I think the 5-year limit would be great for them," he said. "The income loss would not be that great for us, but would help them tremendously."

Said Rothenburger: "It's important to retain 20 jobs to get them back in the loop again."