- people on the move
Plastics maker closes
A local maker of injection-molded plastic parts will close its doors on Friday.
Grand Rapids Plastics, which made parts at its facilities in Wyoming along Roger B. Chaffee Boulevard, announced earlier this year it would be laying off 85 employees over a two-month period, after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA, cancelled its contract with the company.
FCA was the company’s largest customer, and Grand Rapids Plastics was unable to rebound from the loss of business.
Grand Rapids Plastics made parts for various industries: automotive; home; sporting and recreation; construction; and electronics.
"Grand Rapids Plastics has made the difficult decision to end operations on Friday," the company said in a statement. "While our management team worked to expand sales efforts, we were unable to compensate for contracts that ended earlier this year. We are especially appreciative of the employees who helped us complete final orders for our customers."
The company, which was founded in 1976 by Arthur Bott Sr. as a single-plant operation, has had a tumultuous history.
In 2001, Bott sold the company and entered retirement, but within a year and a half, Grand Rapids Plastics had gone bankrupt and ceased production.
Bott had retained legal ownership of the land and the buildings and was able to recover them after the bankruptcy sale.
He began what ended up being a successful effort to re-open the company with the help of several former employees in 2006.
By 2007, it seemed Grand Rapids Plastics was back on track to become a successful business once again.
In 2014, a tragic on-the-job death of one of the company’s employees resulted in an OSHA investigation and $558,000 in fines for the company for violations.
The company had already been cited with a series of worker safety violations between 2011-2014.