GASTONIA Apex Tool Group has announced its Gastonia plant is closing by June, putting 220 employees out of work.
The company, formerly Danaher, has been in Gastonia since 1978.
“This is a blow,” said Donny Hicks, executive director of the Gaston County Economic Development Commission. “Companies like this are hard to replace.”
Because of the high skills required in metal working he said employees should have a good chance finding work with other firms.
Formed two years ago, Apex Tool Group is a joint venture between Danaher Corporation and Cooper Industries. The new firm is based in Sparks, Md. and makes hand and power tools.
The Gastonia plant manufactures sockets and does packaging, said company spokeswoman Kelly Blazek.
Local employees were informed of plans to close the plant on Wednesday. Blazek said the closure was “a difficult decision.”
Employees can apply for other positions with the company. The closest Apex Tool location to Gastonia is in the Raleigh area.
Blazek said the company is applying for federal retraining benefits for employees.