Can Dawson Springs survive?

Reporter: Marianne Lyles
New Media Producer: Amanda Lents

Dawson Springs' big employer is closing up shop.

The Buckhorn plant in Hopkins County is shutting down at the end of the year. Ninety-five employees will lose their jobs.

But those workers may not be the hardest hit. Downtown Dawson Springs may not be a booming city, but this small town still needs business to survive.

Mayor Stacia Peyton says, news that their largest employer will close is heartbreaking, "Buckhorn has played a big part in our community since 1963. It's very devastating to our city budget."

There are 95 employees who will be out of work at the end of the year. There used to be more workers, but Buckhorn has downsized over the last three years.

Buckhorn creates reusable shipping containers for automotive companies, but the demand has gone down. So not only will this plant close, but so will two others; one in Ontario and the other in South Carolina.

Of the 95 workers, just half actually live in Dawson Springs so economic leaders believe those employees will find other work, especially with some assistance.

Dwight Seymore with Hopkins County Economic Development Corp. says, "We will be working with the Hopkins County Economic Development Corp. to develop some new training programs."

Suffering the most will be the city. Buckhorn makes up eight percent of Dawson Spring's revenue, that's $90,000 a year. In preparation the city is cutting back now so its own employees don't lose work.

Mayor Peyton says, "We're OK for one year, but who knows what happens after that."

The building will still stand after Buckhorn leaves. Dawson Springs is already putting out the welcome mat to new companies so Main Street can live on.

Buckhorn is working on a compensation package for its employees. Many of the workers are expected to retire.