Stellar Industries announced that it will close its Kiefer Manufacturing facility in Sneedville, Tenn., on Dec.31, 2015 and transition its Kanawha, Iowa, operation to a Stellar company effective Jan. 1, 2016. Stellar Industries has made a decision to exit horse and livestock trailer manufacturing and focus on its core business, hydraulic truck mounted equipment.  

The company has been negotiating with a potential buyer for the facility in Sneedville. Stellar Industries hopes to finalize details of the sale in a timely manner to aid in a smooth transition for employees and new ownership.

“This was a difficult business decision that we considered carefully,” said Dave Zrostlik, Stellar Industries president. “As an employee-owned company, we are proud of the products made by our hard-working employees. We are committed to treating our employees with dignity and respect, and helping them with the transition moving forward.”

Approximately 35 employees will be affected. All Sneedville employees will receive severance, vacation and personal pay. The organization has also been working closely with Hancock County Mayor Thomas Harrison to assist in job placement opportunities and training for employees at the plant in Sneedville.

“While this has been a difficult decision, Stellar Industries has taken the appropriate steps to assist the Kiefer Manufacturing employees in Sneedville by working collaboratively with our offices and workforce development,” said Harrison. “We will begin job coaching and host a job fair Monday morning with the goal of placing each person. Employment is the key to the community’s success, and I am hopeful we will be able to retain jobs locally through the sale of Kiefer Manufacturing.”

Stellar Industries will complete as many orders as possible by December 31, 2015. Manufacturing warranties and replacement parts will be transitioned in the sale of the facility.

Once the transition is complete, the plant in Kanawha, Iowa will be utilized to meet the increased demand for Stellar products, strengthen market share and position the company for future success.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet