Wickliffe paper mill closure creates trickle-down effect
The idling of the Wickliffe paper mill is creating a trickle-down effect. Not only are 310 people losing jobs there, but businesses that worked with Verso are also impacted.
Once chunks of woods at Wright’s Saw Mill are turned into dust, owner Chip Wright sells them to the Wickliffe paper mill.
"I don’t know how I feel. I have mixed emotions," Wright said about finding out the mill is closing indefinitely.
"We don’t know how it’ll affect us. It won’t be positive," Wright added.
The saw mill’s pulp wood, or the timber used to make paper, also goes to Verso. Wright says his business with the mill adds up to 10 to 12 percent of his earnings each year.
"Will there be another market to come in and replace this one, or we just have to change the way we do business?" Wright said.
Wright says before, he could take saw dust and wood chips 15 miles to Verso. Now, he has to transport it at least 100 miles to make money off it.
"It’s not as convenient," Wright said.
Right now, he doesn’t know of any other place that can take his pulpwood.
"There’d be some kind of cut. It may not be devastating, but it’d be some type of cut, I’m sure," Wright said.
It doesn’t stop there.
"I want them to to keep making as much money," Gary McIntosh said.
Wright has contracted McIntosh to saw wood for him for the past 11 years.
"I work with them, and if they don’t have work, I don’t have work. That’s where it’s bad," McIntosh said.
Right now, all Wright’s mill can do is wait.
"We’re all in limbo. We don’t know." Wright said.
Businesses in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois could be effected.