Oct 31, 2023

West Michigan Molding closing, laying off 134 permanently

Injection molder West Michigan Molding Inc. said it will close its sole plant before the end of the month, laying off 134 workers with little notice.

The company in Grand Haven, Mich., filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) with the state July 17, stating it will close July 28 "as a result of its inability to obtain capital or new business sufficient to continue operations."

It also cited "previously unforeseen circumstances" for the closing. The layoffs are expected to be permanent, the WARN letter said.

The 40-year-old company in recent weeks notified employees and customers that it was entering an “orderly liquidation.”

“The past several years have been incredibly difficult for small- to medium-sized manufacturers including West Michigan Molding,” company President Dale Hermiller said in an emailed statement to Crain's Grand Rapids Business. “This is an incredibly difficult time and we are working with our employees and our customers to make a smooth transition.”

The company's main business has been in automotive, though it also supplied the consumer goods, health care, construction and electronics markets. At one time, its 186,000-square-foot plant in Grand Haven employed 230 and housed 57 presses with clamping forces of 33 tons to 1,800 tons.

Ten years ago it was expanding, buying eight new presses in two years to meet demand in automotive.

The company was still advertising for new hires in June and July.

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