115 jobs lost as Olive Branch business shuts doors

The Trex Company has formally

suspended operations at its manufacturing plant Olive Branch,

idling 115 workers.

The company had announced the suspension last week. Assembly

lines were shut off. On Friday, employees, who were notified of the

closing on Sept. 13, were reassigned to help to help consolidate

operations into the company's two other plants in Winchester, Va.,

and Fernley, Nev.

Trex is a manufacturer of composite decking, railing and


CEO Andrew Ferrari said the company's decision to suspend plant

operations came after a downturn in the homebuilding market.

"We opened expecting the market to continue growing, but the

trend did not turn out that way," he said Friday. "As the

slowdown progressed longer than anyone expected, we had to come up

with a solution."

The Olive Branch plant was built to manufacture six lines.

However, the company never increased production beyond two lines

since the plant's opening in late 2005.

Ferrari said the company began analyzing its options in response

to the unfavorable market earlier this year, voting to suspend

plant operations during a board of directors meeting Sept. 10.

DeSoto County Economic Development Council President and CEO Jim

Flanagan said he was optimistic the plant will reopen when the

housing market recovers.

"It's always a blow when a company decides to close," he said.

"Though I am encouraged that when the economy rebounds, (Trex)

will reinvest in DeSoto County. They have been an awfully good

corporate citizen."

Ferrari said it likely will be a minimum two years before his

company resumes operations at the Olive Branch plant that accounted

for about 10 percent of the company's total manufacturing capacity.

"We definitely plan on reopening as the market improves. We

continue to feel Olive Branch is a great place to expand," he

said, noting that the city's quality of life and state and local

tax incentives were major factors in the company's locating the

plant here.

Trex is providing its employees outplacement services to aid in

the search, while the state is also providing assistance.