CHEROKEE, Iowa (AP) — One small northwest Iowa town is preparing to deal with the loss of 450 jobs this September when the Tyson Foods plant in Cherokee closes, and business owners are worrying about what it will mean.
The Sioux City Journal reports that the Tyson plant is the second-largest employer in Cherokee.
Cherokee Mayor Mark Murphy said he was surprised by Friday's announcement of the plant closing, and the city will try to help plant workers find other jobs in the area.
"We'll do everything we can with our chamber of commerce and other entities to try and maintain as many people in the city as possible and ensure new jobs so we can hopefully keep them here," he said.
When Tyson announced the plant closing in Cherokee, it also said it will close two other plants it acquired in 2001 when it bought IBP Inc. Those plants are in Buffalo, New York; and Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
At the American Theater in downtown Cherokee, manager Linda McClaren said she knows her business will be affected.
"I don't see how it can't," she said. "Going to movies is something people do when they have a little extra money to spend, but now they won't have that extra money to come here."
Rich Hinkhouse said he's not sure how much the two businesses he and his wife own — Brightside Lounge and Hinkhouse Hearing — will be affected, but the city will definitely be hurt by it.
"It's a huge impact to any community to take out 350 or more people," said Hinkhouse, who worked at the plant from 1979 to 1989. "It's a tough thing any time a large employer closes."