The town of Campbell in Steuben County, New York has a strategy meeting Monday. Town officials are trying to come up with a plan to save the local Kraft Foods plant, which supplies nearly 400 jobs in the small community.
After Kraft merged with H. J. Heinz Company last summer, the combined Kraft Heinz Company has been downsizing. Late last month, it announced plans to close the Campbell plant, along with three others in upstate New York. However, after an effort from state officials, the company reversed course last week. It now plans to keep the other three plants and will delay the Campbell closure for one to two years. Kraft Heinz says it will look for a buyer for that facility.
Campbell town supervisor David Tennent says the small reprieve may be enough.
“We need to really focus on the future, and we have a future now,” he says, “but we have to work hard to make sure that future is more than 12 months. Let’s get it closer to 12 years.”
He’s planning to work with town and county officials to come up with a package of tax incentives and other items to attract a new business. He says county and school leaders and a representative from Corning, Inc. plan to be at Monday’s meeting.
The Kraft plant is one of the Campbell area’s largest employers, but Tennent says that’s not the only blow a closure would deliver.
“Obviously there are a lot of factory jobs there, and right now in this part of the world, factory jobs aren’t plentiful,” he says, “But the other part is the farmers in the area who sell milk.”
The Campbell plant makes cheese with milk from local dairies.
Tennent says town officials will look for suggestions from the state and county Industrial Development Agencies on how they can incentivize a plant buyer.