A Fort Mill-based textile company will lay off at least 75 local employees and close its office in northern York County as part of a relocation to the Gulf Coast.
Wellman Inc. declared bankruptcy in February, the latest casualty of an industry hit hard by overseas competition. The company operated in Fort Mill for three years after moving from Charlotte.
"What's happened with the overall textile industry just made it very difficult to continue operations," said chief operating officer Steve Ates. "We feel this will allow the company to emerge from bankruptcy as an ongoing viable company."
Wellman also will close its two plants in the Pee Dee area, eliminating more than 700 jobs under a plan aimed at pulling out of bankruptcy by mid-December.
Ates said the bankruptcy is responsible for the plant closings.
Corporate supervisors, office assistants, accountants and research technicians worked at Wellman's Fort Mill office off U.S. 521.
"It's just a sign of these times," said Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk. "Just about anything that can be made or built tends to move where the labor is cheapest. It eventually got us, too."
Wellman makes polyester fibers and products, including packaging resins. At a new stand-alone facility on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the company will shift entirely to resin, which is used in soda bottles.
Most employees at the Fort Mill office will work their last day on Nov. 18. Some workers were offered jobs at the new Gulf Coast facility, but Ates declined to give a number.