RUSSELL Chief Industries, the biggest employer in this central Kansas community, announced Wednesday it was relocating its recreational vehicle manufacturing facility from Russell to Bradshaw, Neb.
Its King of the Road plant employs 146 people in Russell.
"I really can't tell you anything I'm in total shock," Paul Wharton, a senior draftsman at Chief Industries, told The Russell Daily News. "I have no immediate plans. I just got the news that we were closing 45 minutes ago."
The company said closing its Kansas plant will result in job losses for most production workers. Sales and service employees would not be affected. Some employees will move to new jobs in Nebraska.
Chief plans to continue operating a service center at the Russell location.
"It is never pleasant to make a decision which impacts some of our long term and loyal employees," said Robert Eihusen, chairman and chief executive officer at Chief. "For that I am truly sorry. We must, however, keep in mind all of our nearly 2,000 employees and make decisions that bode well for Chief generally."