After 20 years and a sale, Denon closing doors
Americ Disc has announced that it will permanently shut down manufacturing operations at the former Denon Digital Industries plant in Madison by August 31, ending a 20â€"year run of compact disc and DVD production at the facility. The closure will result in the loss of about 80 jobs in the Morgan County area according to officials with the Madisonâ€"Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.
The Canadian based company is consolidating operations and relocating the production tasks to other facilities based in Minneapolis, Minn., Charlotte, N.C., and Quebec, said Jose Arriaga, general manager of Madison facility.
The consolidation is the result of plummeting demand for compact disc production, partially due to the increase in popularity of competing technologies like MP3 players and music download sites. Music piracy has also taken its toll on the compact disc industry, says Arriaga. Since the decision was made to end operations in Madison in February, six other disc production facilities have closed, announced a shutdown, or reduced their manpower by 60 or 70 percent.
â€œItâ€™s a matter of supply and demand,â€? said Arriaga. â€œFree enterprise creates demand for a product, and when demand falls off, plants close.â€?
The closings came as a hard hit to employees of the plant, according to Dean Williams, a buyer for the company who has been in production and quality assurance for the last 17 years. Having survived an early round of layoffs, Williams expressed his sentiment about what the closing means to employees like him.
â€œOur way of life has been yanked out from under us,â€? Williams said. â€œItâ€™s like family at the plant, and Iâ€™m definitely going to miss that.â€?
Williams also expressed nervousness about the prospects of finding a job with a 12-year-old daughter still in the house, but he remained optimistic.
â€œSome people have already found jobs and Iâ€™m not in desperation mode yet,â€? he added, pointing out that Americ Disc has hosted job fairs in cooperation with the Madisonâ€"Morgan County Chamber of Commerce for employees in the companyâ€™s cafeteria. Â
Though some employees are apprehensive, Jose Arriaga expressed confidence in the ability of current Americ Disc employees to transition into new jobs.
â€œOur work force here is extremely qualified. We have people that are very competent and have good work ethics. The employers at the job fairs have been extremely flexible, and at the last job fair alone there were several job offers made,â€? Arriaga said.
While employees are scrambling to figure out their future employment, the fate of the 186,000 square foot plant also hangs in the balance. Located a half mile off of Interstate 20 on 35 acres of land, the plant offers the possibility of renewed economic opportunity for Morgan County.Â
â€œLosing Denon is obviously a great disappointment for Madison and the Morgan County Area. Morgan County and has been hit hard over the past couple of years with several plant closings,â€? says Gene Baldwin, Jr. of Industrial Properties Group, Inc., who Denon Digital has chosen to market the facility. Â
â€œThough it is a tremendous loss, we have to look at it as fantastic opportunity for a new company to fill this empty space and provide new jobs to the community,â€? Baldwin said.
According to management at Americ Disc, operations will be pared down in June and July while manufacturing equipment is packaged for sale or relocation. The space will be officially vacated by August 31.Â