The Associated Press
NEW HAMPTON — A manufacturer of specialty candles plans to close its factory in New Hampton, putting 57 people out of work.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported Soy Basics would stop production June 30 and would try to sell its building.
The move was announced by Racine, Wis.-based SC Johnson, which bought Soy Basics in 2008.
SC Johnson spokeswoman Kelly Semrau said in a news release that the closure was due to poor sales of specialty candles.
“Since the economic crisis of 2008, more than 150,000 U.S. specialty boutique stores have closed,” Semrau said. “Unfortunately, the market for specialty candles has not rebounded.”
Tammy Robinson, New Hampton’s director of economic development, said workers will be paid at least nine weeks’ severance and can keep their health insurance through July.
The company said it also would donate $20,000 to a local daycare center that has cared for many employees’ children and $10,000 to the New Hampton United Fund, which promotes philanthropy and volunteerism.
Company officials met with Robinson and Mayor Bob Martin to discuss the planned donation and efforts to seek a buyer for the property.
Robinson said she was pleased SC Johnson wants to sell its building and was optimistic the company would be successful.
“They flat-out told us SC Johnson is going to sell the building and try and bring a new employer to the community,” Robinson said. “I think the economy is in our favor, and hopefully, we’ll see new opportunities.”
Soy Basics began in Tipton and moved operations to New Hampton in 2001.