PPG paint factory to close next year

Mitch Magee, above left, and Kathy Collins explain the receiving end of paint production at PPG north of Dover during a 2013 tour of the plant. Delaware State News/file photo

DOVER — The PPG Architectural Coatings paint manufacturing plant in Dover is closing its doors After 43 years in operation.

In all, 65 employees will be impacted by the closing, according to a PPG spokesman.

“PPG intends to close its Dover manufacturing plant and distribution center as part of ongoing efforts to optimize our supply chain footprint and better service our customers,” spokesman Mark Silvey said.

“Production and distribution will be consolidated into various other sites across the PPG network. These actions, while always difficult decisions, are needed to ensure that our cost structure is appropriate for business conditions and that our operations remain competitive.”

Mr. Silvey said employees have been alerted to the intended closing that will go into effect sometime in the second quarter of 2019.

“Employees are being encouraged to apply for open positions with PPG and they will be offered separation benefits,” he added.

The company has plans to sell the facility.

PPG Architectural Coatings manufactures interior and exterior paints, stains, caulks and adhesives and sealants for homeowners and professionals. Well-known brands include PPG Paints, Glidden, Liquid Nails, Homax and Olympic Paints and Stains
The products are sold through 15,000 home centers, independent dealers and company-owned stores across the nation.

The PPG distribution center, shown during a 2013 tour of the facility, houses the finished products, a variety of paints in quart, gallon and five-gallon buckets packaged on pallets. Delaware State News/file photo

PPG Architectural Coatings is a business unit of PPG Industries, a coatings and specialty products company with more than 42,000 employees worldwide.

Previously unaware of the plans to close the facility, Kent County Administrator Mike Petit de Mange said Friday it was “unwelcome news.”

“It’s disconcerting,” he said. “Manufacturing is an important component of the local economy and it’s one that all communities are struggling to maintain. We certainly wouldn’t like to see PPG close the plant. They manufacture a lot there and have always been a really good community partner.”

Mr. Petit de Mange added that the county would take an active interest in the vacant space “if and when” the facility is fully shuttered.
“The employees, most of whom are presumably local residents, would be significantly impacted — it’s not good news,” he said. “We’ll want to do anything we can do to see if we can shore up another occupant for that facility depending on PPG’s plans for it.”

Also unaware of the closing, 1st District Levy Court Commissioner P. Brook Banta said it will be a major loss to his district’s residents, the county and the state.

“It will certainly be a tremendous loss,” he said. “They were a very enterprising, clean operation — very well maintained and certainly a great contributor to the economic development of the county. I hope there’s still an opportunity for some negotiations, but it may be beyond that point, I’m not sure though because I haven’t spoken to anyone with their company.”

Farewell to a mainstay

When it opened in 1975 PPG Dover only had about 25 employees, including management. That first year, they manufactured 4 million gallons of paint, but by 2015 they made about 10 to 15 million gallons.

Many PPG employees have made a lifelong career working at the plant. A plant manager said in 2013 that more than 40 percent of the plant’s workforce had been working at the facility for more than 20 years.

In an article covering its 40th anniversary in 2015, Kathy Baird, one of their longest-serving employees at the time, told this newspaper the facility was her “other home.”

Ms. Baird had been working at the plant since it opened. Over four decades, she’d never even thought about looking for another job, she said at the time.

“I didn’t picture me going anywhere else,“ Ms. Baird has said. “PPG is an awesome company to work for, very focused on the employee, very focused on safety, from the top down.”

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.