FORKS TWP., Pa. - It's the end of an era for Dixie Cups in Northampton County.
On Friday Georgia Pacific announced its Lehigh Valley facility will be shutting down for good.
The plant will close by the end of the year but Tom Strother, a company spokesperson, said they'll likely begin letting people go by the end of March. He called the closure a tough business decision and one that's part of a consolidation plan that will move manufacturing to Kentucky.
"These are difficult decisions that businesses have to make sometimes. This is a difficult day for us having to deliver the news to this team in our Lehigh Valley facility,” Strother said.
"Had we known this Koch brothers company was going to move these good jobs out of Northampton County, we would have taken action,” said Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure. McClure said the county’s Industrial Development Authority could help retain workers.
“We have a workers retention fund. We're just very unhappy they [Georgia-Pacific] didn't approach us about it,” McClure said.
Dixie Cup has a long history in Northampton County. The company, originally owned by Hugh Moore, the namesake of several Easton parks, was brought to Wilson Borough in 1921.
Historian Martha Capwell-Fox of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor said Moore's trust fund still supports park systems.
"People really do need to remember how important Hugh Moore was to the community. The money he made running Dixie is actually still in evidence in the two park systems that we have,” Capwell-Fox said.
Georgia Pacific, which is owned by Koch Industries, one of the biggest companies in the U.S., opened the factory in Forks Township in the 60's.
Northampton County said there are plans underway for the historic Dixie plant in Wilson, which has sat abandoned for decades but can't share more details just yet.