- people on the move
Manufacturer closes and lays off 125
A maker of machined components in the region is closing next month.
Bronson Precision Products will close its facility in Bronson — south of Battle Creek and near the Indiana border, at 404 Union St. — between March 18 and March 31.
The company has already begun laying off its 125 employees as a result of the closure.
Bronson Precision Products is owned by Bloomfield Hills-based Royal Oak Industries. It has been operating in Bronson for 30 years. The company was the top employer in Bronson, as well as a “top-10” manufacturer in Branch County.
Royal Oak Industries is also closing its Royal Oak Boring facility in Port Huron, at 2340 Dove St., during the same period. That closure will impact 66 employees.
The city of Bronson made the closure announcement after receiving a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification.
Bronson Precision Products, or BPP, had been “in the process of seeking capital,” which the company said “would have enabled it to avoid or postpone a closure and continue operations,” according to the filing.
“Unfortunately, those efforts were unsuccessful, and, as a result, the company will now be forced to permanently close the facility and is providing as much notice as practicable of this closing,” the filing says.
Royal Oak Industries did not return a request for comment.
Brandon Mersman, Bronson city manager, said the city received “no indication” BPP was having financial trouble.
“The city, the Branch County Economic Growth Alliance, nor the state were contacted about what tax incentives we could bring to the table,” Mersman said.
The city has previously assisted the BPP with Industrial Facilities Tax incentives, and it has current IFTs with the company.
“Our thoughts are with the many families, friends and neighbors that built their careers around this company, Mersman said. “We will continue to look forward and overcome this devastating loss as we have in the past.”
BPP officials have contacted the Branch County Economic Growth Alliance for help with re-allocating the workforce.
“We will do whatever we can to help locate new job opportunities for those that will be affected by this closure,” said Lisa Miller, executive director, Branch County Economic Growth Alliance.
Mersman said there are a number of manufacturers in the greater Bronson area looking to hire highly skilled workers, and the city and the Branch County Economic Growth Alliance have “fielded a number of calls from area companies” looking to hire BPP employees.
“We are hopeful that everyone affected will find new positions in Bronson or neighboring Sturgis or Coldwater,” Mersman said.
Mersman said Bronson’s unemployment rate is currently at 4 percent.
He also expects there will be interest from manufacturers in the closed BPP facility.
“We are confident that this great facility will garner a lot of interest from manufacturer’s looking to relocate to Bronson or expand here,” he said.