Jobs, Utility Customer to Leave

Plant City Manager David Sollenberger
Plant City Manager David Sollenberger
PLANT CITY (2009-02-17) -

A major, Plant City employer plans to close its doors by September leaving more than 700 workers without a job - and the city utility system without a major customer.

Smithfield Foods is restructuring its U.S. operations and plans to close down its meat packing facility in Plant City. Most of the 760 workers will be laid off and the others offered transfers.

Plant City Manager David Sollenberger says the company revealed its plans to shutter the plant during a meeting with city officials Tuesday.

"Smithfield is a major customer of our utility in terms of water," Sollenberger said. The meatpacking plant accounted for close to $700,000 or about 5 percent of the city's utility business.

Sollenberger is hoping the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce will help attract a new food operation to the 176,000 square foot plant owned by Smithfield.

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