by David Madden
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two months after stunning South Jersey officials with news they were thinking about closing their Vineland plant, the owners of Progresso Soups have made it official.
The facility will shut down next year, putting over 350 people out of work, and locals are looking toward the future.
The formal announcement from General Mills was not a surprise to those like Congressman Frank LoBiondo. Now they have to find a way to soften the blow for an already economically depressed area.
Tops on the list, finding a new owner for the plant.
“We hope to involve General Mills and their marketing arm because it’s in their best interest if they can find another food producer that would be interested in this plant,” said LoBiondo
That might not be easy, though.
General Mills was running national commercials, until a few months ago, touting the Vineland roots of Progresso, and had just reached a new contract with union workers when news of the closure was first announced in July.
Meetings are set between the company and local leaders in hopes of finding a new owner and, if necessary, to provide displaced workers with training and employment options.