April 12, 2001

CCI Closing Its Memphis Plant

The handwriting was on the wall two weeks ago when no representatives from the company were present at the public foreclosure sale on the building, but Converter Concepts, Inc., (CCI) made it official April 9 that the power-source manufacturer will be closing its Memphis plant.

The roughly 30 employees at the plant had been wondering about their future ever since the February publication of the impending sale of the former MicroEnergy building.

CCI president Charles Montante met with the employees at the Memphis site April 9 to make the announcement and discuss the employees' future with the company.

"Our ultimate goal coming out of this event is to make sure no one gets hurt by the move," Montante said. "We are making every effort to insure that all the employees here in Memphis still have a job, either at our Quincy plant or elsewhere."

Montante stated that the sale of the building was the precipitating factor in the move. He indicated that with the current economic situation, the company felt it could not justify moving to another site in Memphis and signing any long-term agreement for a building. That combined with the fact that there is available space at the company's Quincy plant, made the relocation a logical choice, he said.

The CCI building, located on Highway 136 in Memphis, was purchased by the Scotland County Rec-Plex at a public sale on the steps of the courthouse on March 21 as the original owner, MicroEnergy, Inc., had been in default of payments of interest and principal.

A press release issued by CCI stated the recent purchase of the building now occupied by CCI by the Scotland County Fitness Center made it necessary to consider moving the operation.

Members of the board for the fitness center indicated they did not feel this was the case.

"We would not have bid at the sale if a representative of the tenant, Converter Concepts, had been present to bid," stated fitness center chairperson Judy Campbell. "Our board members are volunteers and residents of this community, and our top priority has been to keep the company and the jobs here. However, Converter Concepts, was not present at the sale and did not bid. The building was clearly going to be sold, and we purchased it for what we believed was a reasonable price."

Campbell also stated that the fitness center group had offered CCI the opportunity to continue operating in the building for a reasonable period of time, even at a cost below the company's previous rental rates for the building.

At a meeting at the Memphis plant, Montante offered an incentive package to the local employees to stay with the company and work at the Quincy, IL, plant. This package included a 50-cent increase to the base hourly wage as well as scheduling changes to allow workers to still be home in Memphis by 4:00 p.m. He offered the employees a seven-hour workday to be paid as an eight-hour day to offset a portion of the nearly 3-hour round-trip from Memphis to Quincy, IL.

The company reported it has been in contact with area employers to request that firms with open positions hold job fairs at the Memphis plant to recruit any of the current employees who do not wish to commute to the Quincy plant.

CCI also indicated it has made extensive phone calls and contacts with other businesses attempting to find job placement for the displaced workers. The company's human resource department will be in Memphis to assist the employees with resume writing and job search skills.

Memphis employees will receive a severance package that will pay four weeks salary after the termination date as well as continuation of insurance benefits during that time period.

CCI is asking any prospective employers to call the plant at 660-465-7237 or email goodworkers @convertsconcept.com.

Montante indicated the last day for local employees at the Memphis site would be no later than May 30.

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