Tecumseh employee file photo

In this P-I file photo, a Tecumseh employee works at the plant in October 1979.

An industry that’s been in Henry County for more than 45 years will be closing its doors next year.

Tecumseh Products, 2700 W. Wood St. will cease operations in Paris sometime between April 1 and June 1, 2021, according to information from the company. The company employs 64 people in Paris.

David Moroni, plant manager at Tecumseh, said Tuesday he’d told employees about the closure earlier this month.

“On September third, we did make the announcement that we will be ceasing operations in the second quarter of next year,” Moroni said.

Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., the company said in a Wednesday morning statement that the closure was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and had nothing to do with the plant’s performance.

“Like many businesses during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Tecumseh continues to evaluate our existing manufacturing footprint to solidify our position as a leading global manufacturer of hermetically sealed compressors for residential and specialty air conditioning, and commercial refrigeration products,” the statement read. “As a result of the unprecedented market decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tecumseh has made the difficult decision to cease operations at its Paris, Tennessee facility, effective in the second quarter 2021.

“While the closure of this facility will not impact our ability to meet the needs of our customers, we recognize that this decision impacts the lives of many of our team members and their families. Our colleagues have performed well, and this is no reflection on their efforts. We are grateful for the individual and collective contributions they have made and are committed to treating all affected employees fairly during this difficult time.”

“We’re sad to hear that,” said Rob Goad, executive director of the Paris-Henry County Industrial Committee, adding he was absolutely going to be working to make sure any former Tecumseh employees can be trained for new jobs at other companies.

Goad said he reached out to Tecumseh’s CEO, in an effort to get the company to stay in Paris.

“I made an offer to assist them in any way possible, but  that decision was final,” Goad said. “We hope we’ll be able to help their employees find new positions. We also have some workforce training that’s available to them.”

Tecumseh opened in Paris in 1974, making refrigerator and air conditioner motors. The company had purchased the former Mitchum building in 1973 and expanded it to 170,000 square feet.

In 2014, the lamination division was purchased by Euro Group, an Italian industrial holding company that supplies electrical steel laminations to the makers of electric motors and generators. Euro Group purchased only the lamination division of the Tecumseh Products plant and kept that division’s employees at the new company, Eurotranciatura USA. Tecumseh itself maintained an operation inside the same building.

“Euro is going to hire some of those employees,” Goad said. “They are going to utilize the space inside that building that Tecumseh will vacate.”

Goad said he’s going to work with a variety of workforce development agencies to offset training costs for any company that hires former Tecumseh workers.

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