BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — Two major facilities, providing jobs to the community of Baxter Springs for decades, have closed.
So how does that impact employees and the city’s economy?
“We’re talking about 100, maybe a little more. And that’s pretty significant for the population of the City of Baxter Springs,” said Amy Kauffman, Cherokee Co. Economic Development Executive Director.
100 employees, perhaps with families – perhaps bringing the only income home.
This comes following the closures of two major plants – National Safety Apparel – also still known by its former name – King Louie.
And YRC Freight, or “Yellow Freight.”
They both announced closures at the end of July and the beginning of August.
National Safety Apparel’s final day of operations was Friday.
Close to 70 workers are now looking for new jobs – as are more than 30 employees from YRC Freight.
“That’s a loss not only for those individual families, but also for consumer spending as a whole. You can consider, 100 people are not buying as much groceries, they’re not buying as much gas. So, there’s a loss of consumer spending,” said Kauffman.
Both facilities have been in the city for decades – and now the small community misses out on that tax revenue.
“When the company closes, they’re not paying taxes, they’re not funneling money into the community anymore,” said Kauffman.
Closed doors can often open new ones, with new potential.
“This could be a time for opportunity. So many of those employees worked there for quite a significant time. So, now is the opportunity to maybe get a different job, learn new skills, maybe make a better wage, make more money. So, there’s really an opportunity for those people now to move in a different direction,” said Kauffman.
We also spoke with officials from the Pittsburg Workforce Center.
They say they’ve been working with these employees since the closures were announced – offering resources, help with resumes, and interviewing skills.