Auto glass manufacturer closes Wichita plant

Safelite Auto Glass, founded in Wichita in 1946, has closed its local plant, putting 130 production employees out of work.

Some production will be moved to a larger Safelite plate in Enfield, N.C., and the rest will be outsourced to other manufacturers, the company said.Workers were called to a meeting Thursday morning and told of the plans.Safelite, which moved its headquarters to Columbus, Ohio, in 1990, will keep its Wichita retail and warehousing operations open.They employ 22. The production workers will be paid for the next 60 days, as the law requires.

Safelite spokeswoman Denise Klapper said the Wichita plant was closed to cut costs and the company plans to lease or sell the building. The plant took flat pieces of glass, bonded them with plastic to make them shatterproof and molded them to fit vehicles.

Safelite was founded by Arthur Lankin and Bud Glassman, and Wichita businessman R. Dee Hubbard later became part-owner and president of the company. In 1977 it was acquired by California-based Lear Siegler. The glass company is part of the Columbus, Ohio-based Safelite group, a privately held operation with 6,300 employees.

600450 Auto glass manufacturer closes Wichita plant
Date: 2 May 2005

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