HOQUIAM, Wash. -- After years of struggling to stay profitable in the current economy, Grays Harbor Paper LLC finally folded Thursday.
The president of the company, Patrick Quigg, announced the Hoquiam mill will shut down, effective immediately.
Grays Harbor Paper employs about 240 people, who help produce copy and printing paper for businesses and organizations across the Northwest, including the City of Seattle, City of Portland, and Nike. Potentially all will be laid off.
"All of the employees will be affected by the shutdown, with the exception of a small support crew to maintain the facilities and sell all remaining inventory," Quigg said in a statement Thursday.
Employees said they were surprised to hear they were losing their jobs.
“I thought this place was going to be in for the long haul,” said Tony Harris, who had worked for Grays Harbor Paper for two years.
Harris went to the unemployment office Thursday morning to file for benefits and look for work.
“A strong union outfit, that provides a good job with a good wage is getting harder and harder to come by,” said Harris.
"I want to acknowledge the continued support of the stakeholders in our community and the
industry, especially our loyal employees, without whom we would not have made it this far," said Quigg.
The high price of raw materials, and decreased demand are blamed for the closure.