FERGUSON — Production has ceased and 169 employees are out of a job at Crane Plumbing, which will close after approximately 42 years of operation next Tuesday.

A small group of employees who work in accounting and provide computer services remain at the Ferguson plant. They provide services for other plants and probably will be moved, according to a company official.

The final day for shipping the remaining supply of inventory is Feb. 14. “Production has ceased,” Steve Golimowski, North America plant manager for Crane Plumbing LLC, said this week. “We are shipping...and involved in emptying out the building.”

Crane officials broke the news of the plant’s closing in December.

“The domestic vitreous china industry has been having a significantly tough time over the last few years,” Golimowski said in a prepared news release. “In the past six years, seven other American vitreous china plants have closed permanently. Several thousand employees have lost their jobs while our competitors have expanded production in Mexico, China and the Philippines. We are trying very hard to remain a domestic manufacturer of vitreous china. Unfortunately, we see no way to meet the lower production costs of products that are being imported.”

A sister plant was closed in Somerset, Pa., last year, and employees at a plant in Trenton, Canada, are on temporary layoff.

Golimowski said the equipment inside the local plant has been moved to other facilities or will be sold at auction in the immediate future.

“The building will not be used as a warehouse. Everything is being moved out,” he said. “My assumption is, the building will be sold.”

Crane Plumbing has been a fixture in Ferguson for at least 42 years. The Crane FIAT Sanymetal plant, located nearby in the former Lear Siegler building, will remain in operation. Sanymetal manufactures rest room partitions.

Golimowski said the Crane FIAT Sanymetal plant is “ open” and there are no plans to change its status.

Crane Plumbing LLC is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of plumbing fixtures and specialty plumbing products in North America. The company’s various products and product lines are manufactured in facilities located throughout the United States and Canada. The local plant produced ceramic toilet bowls.

Golimowski said employees were offered severance packages, in relationship to years of service, and salaried personnel received severance packages, according to policy.

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