PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Pavco employee Myrtle Bridges got the news the plywood plant was closing last week, but she's feared the worst for a while.
"It was somewhat a shock," Bridges said. "But working in the office, you can see paperwork, to a certain extent, that things are going downhill. So it would cross one's mind that it was coming up."
What was once a passing thought is now reality. After a long struggle, Pavco Industries is closing its doors for good, leaving Myrtle and 62 other employees out of jobs.
"It will be sad to leave because at my age. I was counting on this being my last employment," Bridges said.
Pavco President David Boland is saddened that he must let his 63 employees go.
"We've got some great people, some great workers, but its not a good job market," Boland said. "We know that. And it weighs heavy on us."
Boland said he never thought his business would fall victim to recession when he took it over from his father years ago. After all, the business weathered a devastating fire and the effects of Hurricane Katrina in its more than 60 years in Pascagoula.
Despite the odds, the business continued to thrive, delivering plywood to clients all over the Southeast. Most of the wood is used for kitchen cabinets, according to Boland.
"My thinking was as long as we do a good job, as long as our employees do a good job, we can survive. No matter what the economy does," Boland said.
Boland said a fatal combination of a slow housing market, financial hard times for individuals and families, and competition with China all contributed to the bottom line.
"It's not fun telling all the people out there we fought it as long as we can, and we can't keep going," Boland said.
He also said his clients were surprised to hear the news.
"When I was calling our customers and telling them this, they were in shock," Boland said.
Boland said the same challenges are forcing other industries like his to close all over the country. And he doesn't expect much relief in the future, despite a few efforts on the national level.
"The wood industry as a whole is huge, but our section of it is not that large," Boland said. "I'm not sure if Washington's going to help us all that much."
Boland said he doesn't know what the next step will be for the property.
"Our board is still deciding on whether to mothball our plant and come back and make plywood again," Boland said. "We don't know."
"It is a sad day for me and my family," Boland said.