A major Walton County employer is shutting its doors. After weeks of rumors, the Perdue poultry processing plant in Defuniak Springs confirms what its almost 400 employees have been dreading. Come April, they will all be out of a job.
Grocery store owner, J.W. Adkinson won't be out of a job when the Perdue plant closes, but he will be out of some profits...
“We're right here close by and employees are in and out all the time so I reckon it'll have some effect," Adkinson says.
"They told everyone this morning that they're going to shut down April 21st," says a local businessman.
Perdue employees like Dean Bragg are regulars here, as they are in other nearby businesses.
"Just trying to get another job and go on, bills got to be paid," says May Lee, a Perdue employee.
"They're telling us that the facility is so old and our ability to produce certain types of products at this facility is the main reason they're going to close it," says Dean Bragg, also a Perdue employee.
In a letter released Friday, Perdue says it considered other alternatives before shutting down its Defuniak Springs plant. That's of little comfort to the almost 400 employees that will be without a job come April. The economy is so slow now that there's really not a lot of businesses and not a lot of places to go get a job.
The news of the plants closing didn't come without warning. Employees have been hearing rumors about it for weeks now. Still, it doesn't make the job search any easier for the 400 people who will soon be competing for the area's few jobs.
Employees and local business owners aren't the only people affected. Perdue says it will also stop doing business with its 48 local poultry producers in April.