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B'ville: Syroco closes

The Syroco plant, located on State Fair Boulevard in Van Buren, closed its doors Monday June 18.

The more than 150 employees that worked at the manufacturing factory received notice of the closing Friday (June 15) when announcements were posted around the facility. All were laid off permanently.

Syroco owner, Vassallo Industries, also owns plants in Arkansas, Florida and California, which closed last Monday as well. Vassallo Industries plans to liquidate assets and operate on a skeleton crew until further notice.

Syroco was founded in 1890 and originally know as the Syracuse Ornamental Company producing ornamental carvings. In 1962, Syroco branched into plastics manufacturing plastic wall d (c)cor and, eventually, plastic patio furniture. According to officials, increased prices of raw materials and operational costs affected profits causing the company to run out of money and close.

The New York State Labor Department held a meeting for former Syroco employees last Wednesday at Ray Middle School. Participants received information on how to obtain unemployment benefits, access health insurance and retirement benefits and other resources. Manufacturing companies from around central New York have also expressed an interest in hiring former Syroco employees, as the demand for skilled manufacturers is high in the region.

Van Buren Supervisor Mary Crego said she knew nothing of Syroco's plans to close. She added that Syroco had received approval for an Economic Development Zone on May 1, an indication that the company intended to grow.

The Economic Development Zone is part of the Empire Zones program. According to empire.state.ny.us, in order to participate in the Empire Zones Program, a business must first be located in an empire zone, or qualify as a regionally significant project, and become zone certified. To qualify for certification, a business must be able to demonstrate that it will create new jobs and/or make investments in the empire zone and be consistent with the local zone's development plan, including a cost-benefit analysis.

The Economic Development Zone is part of the Empire Zones program. According to empire.state.ny.us, in order to participate in the Empire Zones Program, a business must first be located in an empire zone, or qualify as a regionally significant project, and become zone certified. To qualify for certification, a business must be able to demonstrate that it will create new jobs and/or make investments in the empire zone and be consistent with the local zone's development plan, including a cost-benefit analysis.

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