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Bestway Enterprises closes Fowler plant

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HAILESBORO — Bestway Enterprises, owner of the closed Harrisville kiln operation, shut down its wood pressure-treatment plant in the town of Fowler on Monday, leaving eight employees out of work.

The two closures were not directly connected, as the plants relied on different raw materials.

“This was a separate review for us,” company spokesman Andrew T. Porter said.

However, the closures are related in that they have to do with the cost of doing business in New York state, Mr. Porter said.

“We are reducing our physical footprint in New York and ramping up in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts,” he said. “It wasn’t an easy decision.”

The company decided that it could handle its accounts in Northern and Central New York with its operation in Cortland.

The wood-treatment plant on Route 58 will remain idle, with no immediate plans for its future, Mr. Porter said.

The closure of the dry kiln operation in Harrisville, known as HDK Wood Products, left nearly 30 people without a job. The mill steam-dried lumber in the kilns and planed it before selling it for a variety of products, including door frames and utility poles.

Almost all of Fowler’s product was made with southern yellow pine, which was not what Harrisville used, said Thomas A. Plastino, deputy director of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency.

“The production at the two was unconnected,” he said.

The IDA was involved with the wood-treatment plant years ago when it was under different ownership, Mr. Plastino said.

“This is purely and simply a stand-alone company,” he said.

According to Bestway’s website, the company purchased the 29-acre pressure-treating facility in 1996 and started operations there in 1998 after renovations and site work. The facility, which also employed seasonal workers, includes a maintenance shop, office, warehouse, weigh station, fuel depot, rail siding and a treatment area capable of producing 15 million board feet per year.

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