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Effort underway to save Magnolia
June 18, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

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Since the Magnolia Homes plant in Gering closed on May 29, local business leaders have been working toward reopening the facility and bringing jobs back into the community.

Magnolia Homes has been in the area since the 1950s and has been in its Gering location since 1972. Harry Karsten purchased the facility in 2012. At its peak, Magnolia employed about 100 workers, including skilled positions such as electricians, plumbers and carpenters.

In a prepared statement after the plant closure, Karsten said the company ran into financial trouble after deciding to begin manufacturing multi-family housing for the housing shortage experienced in North Dakota due to the oil boom. The unforeseen drop in crude oil prices and difficulties in financing construction created a large financial loss for Magnolia.

Twin Cities Development, along with Karsten, the plant’s former operators and owners of the real estate, and a local investor have teamed up to see what can be done to keep Magnolia Homes viable into the future.
TCD Executive Director Rawnda Pierce said that because negotiations are ongoing, her office can’t say a lot. But in a news release from last week, TCD said the group was working on a plan to keep the modular home manufacturer in operation, along with the jobs lost to the plant closure.
“Currently, there is a lot of interest in Colorado for the Magnolia Homes modular product,” Pierce said in the news release “There are orders ready to be filled once production begins again.”

She added the parties would like to see a plan come together in the next month, but they also realize it might take longer to get one in place.
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