Simpson Lumber Company and Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) have agreed to terms for SPI to acquire the assets of Simpson’s sawmill operations in the Shelton. Lisa Perry, Community Relations Manager for Sierra Pacific tells us “It’ll be good news in the long run, but it’s going to be hard for the community in the short term.”
Sierra Pacific Industries will purchase Simpson’s sawmilling equipment in downtown Shelton, at the nearby Johns Prairie complex, and at Dayton, Washington.
SPI separately announced that it would not operate the mills, but instead will construct at least one new, state-of-the-art sawmill and lumber planing operation on the Shelton waterfront site. SPI anticipates its new mill will be operational sometime in 2017.
Simpson will continue to own its railroad properties, tracks, tidelands and other properties in the Shelton Harbor area, and is considering options to re-purpose those facilities. Simpson Door Company also continues to operate, employing 188 people in nearby McCleary, Wash.
Simpson expects the mill operations in downtown Shelton and Dayton to wind down over the next 60 days. The company has told its employees that most of the Shelton-area jobs will be eliminated. Simpson employs about 270 people in its Shelton-area operations. In addition to paying severance, company leaders are trying to secure government economic aid or retraining support for displaced employees.
“I deeply appreciate our employees. They are hardworking, driven and dedicated to the success of this company, as they have been for our nearly 100 years of sawmill operations in Shelton,” said Colin Moseley, Simpson chairman. “The decision to sell was extremely difficult because Shelton has always been the heart of our lumber manufacturing business, and we have enjoyed great support from the Shelton community,” he continued. “I am confident that officials at Sierra Pacific Industries will enjoy a similarly collaborative spirit in Shelton.”
According to Dave McEntee, Simpson Lumber Company President, the decision to sell follows the company’s decision to exit the lumber business and focus on Simpson Door. “SPI is a leader in the forest products business in Washington and I am encouraged by the company’s plans to invest long-term in manufacturing and jobs here in Shelton,” McEntee said.
“We look forward to being a partner with this close-knit, supportive community,” said SPI President George Emmerson. “We appreciate the opportunity to bring the next generation of lumber manufacturing to Shelton,” he added.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. It is anticipated that the sale will be completed this summer.