Belvidere slot parlor concerned Stellantis layoffs will impact business
BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - News of the temporary shutdown at the Stellantis plant in Belvidere not only impacts workers but local businesses, too.
One manager says he often sees a lively atmosphere from the plant workers at the bars he oversees but after the news of a shutdown, that might change.
Bob Wagner helps oversee operations at three businesses in Belvidere: Wild Cherry’s, Countryside Fresh Market and Backstop Bar and Grill.
“It’s very disappointing. Very, very disappointing,” says Wagner. “I see it in their eyes; The devastation because they don’t know what’s going to happen with their lives and everything else. I mean, it’s going to hurt our business for sure. Because they’re very supportive.”
After hearing news of the shutdown, Wagner’s worry started to set in. Many of his customers work at Stellantis and he depends on them for business.
“We were talking about putting an addition on we’re halfway through an addition so we get more people in here, but now we might have to stop that program.”
Senator Dave Syverson says the decision disappoints him.
“Part of the problem with Illinois is they it’s not been a real jobs-friendly state and so companies have made decisions to go elsewhere.”
He says many manufacturers struggle with productivity but he believes the Belvidere plant is one of the most efficient in the state with some of the most skilled workers.
“You would think that companies would be smarter and understand that today, the workforce is more important than location, but it sounds like at this point they have not gotten that message.”
Syverson says he’s going to work with state and U.S. officials to create a deal to save the plant or get someone else into the facility to run it.
Almost 40% of jobs in Boone County are in the manufacturing industry. 2020 Census data suggests that about 6,000 people in the county worked in this sector.
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