Amsterdam company closes, 120 lose jobs

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. – A longtime company in Amsterdam is closing and laying off 120 people.

Fiber Glass Industries, Inc. has been in operation for nearly 60 years. It runs two plants in Amsterdam.

Chariman John Menzel announced the company had been losing money since 2008, and it couldn’t compete with Chinese companies. The plants will now be closed over the next 90 to 120 days while fulfilling customer orders for companies such as General Motors and the Hatteras.

He said in a statement: “Unfortunately, we are competing with government-owned and government-financed competitors in China…The prices our customers are willing to pay are ten percent less than our production costs. To continue this business has become impossible for all of us.”

Employees wouldn’t speak on camera, but said they’re disappointed, and FGI provided good jobs. City officials are now stepping up and speaking to other local employers about finding new jobs for those who will be displaced.

“I was very encouraged that I reached out to some of my corporate contact here in the city, and they immediately identified, ‘Oh, we’ve got openings. Our businesses are improving.’ So we’ll send that information to FGI,” Community and Economic Development Director Robert von Hasseln said.

Emmy Lou Hazelton’s husband worked at FGI for almost 30 years.

“We’re all concerned,” she said. “We just got to wait and see what happens. We’re waiting for a miracle.”

Hazelton owns Emmy Lou’s Home Cooking, a diner in downtown. It’s one of many businesses struggling to get by. Daniel Weaver owns the Book Hound, a small, independent book store that’s been at its location for nearly ten years.

“It’s been that way for about 20 years,” he said. “Downtown struggled. You get one business open up and another one closes.”

He’s concerned the closure of the FGI plants will hurt his bottom line.

“It’ll be less people here,” he said. “Less money spent here.”

Amsterdam said it’s working to find other companies that might want to move into the existing factory spaces.

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