Skilled laborers from ABC Truss to go their separate ways Friday

August 25, 2008

By Lynda Jensen

Local skilled laborers will go their own way Friday at ABC Truss, once the Montrose production facility closes its doors for good.

Most don’t have immediate plans, according to a brief sample of the estimated 40 people that it will impact – many of whom are in the prime of their professional lives.

“I haven’t decided (about the future),” said Daryl Buttenhoff of Howard Lake, who worked at ABC for 23 years. He started as an assembler, then did work as set-up; ending up working as a lead man. “I want to keep my options open.”

Jim Heimerl of Lester Prairie echoed this sentiment. In his mid-30s, he worked at ABC for 12 years and will find himself out of work Friday instead of the saw room. “I have a few applications out,” he said. However, he’s not sure what he’ll do.

Mike Zachmann of Howard Lake, 42, who ran a saw room, also is uncertain of the future and what he will do. “ I don’t know,” he admitted, keeping a wait-and-see approach.

For Larry Hoof and his two sons, Daryl and Daryn, ABC closing its doors is tough, too. At the age of 61, he’s been through other plant closings before. “This is the third time,” for a company to close on him, Larry said. “There’s nothing you can do about it.” He worked as a driver.

Daryn Hoof, 29, spent nine years at ABC – but he sees the closing as a new beginning – and is going back to school for taxidermy. He will end up owning his own business, if all goes well. “I always wanted to go back for the past five or six years,” he said. This will give him the “excuse” he was looking for. He worked in the saw room previously.

Andy Heimerl, who is also the mayor of Lester Prairie, also worked at ABC, but unlike most of the others, has found a new job already at Becker Truss; leaving ABC last month. He worked in sales, which is what he does now in Becker.

Heimerl worked at ABC for 13 years, starting out initially in the shop, office, then sales. “It’s a good group of guys,” he noted. “It stinks they closed. Things happen and life moves on.”

The closing is taking place due to “continued economic challenges in the housing industry,” according to a company news release.

The announcement affects 40 people, but the company had 83 employees at the beginning of the year. Scores of them are employed locally, some of which were laid off earlier in the year.

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