Manufacturing Plant Is Staying Open

    (SPENCER, IA) It looked like the end of the line last week for more than 30 people at Simonsen Iron Works in Spencer. The company was out of money and closed its doors. But Monday, there's a new owner and almost everyone is back on the job.

    Business is usual here at Simonsen Iron Works. The plant opened at 6 AM and 31 employees clocked in and got to work. But just last week, these employees clocked out thinking it could be the last time they'd punch their time card.

    "I was no different from anyone else from that stand-point. I would have been out of work had they been out of work." says Aaron Schulz, Operations President at Simonsen Iron Works Facility.

    "When Aaron told us in the meeting it was closing, everyone was scared for their financial standings and their jobs standings and everything of that nature but Aaron assured us that he was working on something and get something worked out. I kind of put all my trust in him and let him take the reigns," says Leslee Stofferan, Production Manager at Simonsen Iron Works.

    But that didn't happen. Thurston Manufacturing Company had been negotiating a deal to work with Simonsen Iron but because the company that owned Simonsen ran out of money and could no longer pay its employees, Thurston bought the facility - a decision that saved the plant from closing.

    "Anytime that you can affect someone's job or life in a positive way, it's a good thing. But the way we look at it is we're benefiting just as much as they are," says Ryan Jensen, Co-Owner of Thurston Manufacturing.

    Thurston Manufacturing produces and markets Blu-jet fertilizer and tillage equipment but the current factory in Thurston, Nebraska is running full time - that's a 130 workers clocking in for 50 hours a week. Sometimes the company is forced to turn down orders.

    "It allows us to have additional capacity. We're able to send some additional work here as kind of a relief valve for our factory that's been at maximum capacity for the last 8 years," says Jensen.

    And the employees here are relieved and happy things are back to normal.

    "It's nice to have a job. It's nice to have everyone back. It's nice to be basically at home in your day home. So it's great being back," says Stofferan.

    The 130,000 square foot facility will operate completely on its own continuing its current contracts plus taking on more work from Thurston's other plant.

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