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A Somerset County tannery will shut down later this summer due to a decline in orders caused by the coronavirus pandemic, company officials announced on Monday.
Tasman Leather Group will begin gradually shutting down its Hartland plant immediately, despite “continued and remarkable support” from its customers and workers, according to company president Norman Tasman.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the demand for our product, and reinstatement of that demand is uncertain both in timing and magnitude, making continued operations impossible,” Tasman said.
The number of workers to lose jobs with the shutdown was not immediately available. According to state records, as of 2018, Hartland had lost 450 jobs over the 10 previous years.
Formerly known as Prime Tanning-Hartland, the tannery was purchased by Tasman for $6.5 million in 2011. The purchase came shortly after residents voted 196-15 in favor of a new wastewater-treatment agreement that the company needed to stay in business. The company employed more than 150 people at the time.
The purchase followed three bankruptcies filed by Prime Tanning, with the latest carrying more than $10 million in liabilities. Tasman is the 11th largest employer in Somerset County, according to the Maine Department of Labor.
The facility, which the company advertises as “is one of the last remaining tanneries in the United States,” provides leather for the manufacture of military gear, footwear, upholstery, automobiles, garments, luggage, handbags and other accessories, according to its website.
Watch: State labor commissioner speaks to unemployed Mainers