Mt. Pleasant: Smith Glass up for sale

The L.E. Smith Glass Co. in Mount Pleasant is for sale. The factory is not closing, according to Martin Noonan, president.

"The company is up for sale. It's been up for sale for some time. The company's been having some tough financial times. We do have a potential buyer. It's early in the process," he said. He did not indicate how long the company has been on the market, but did say, "We don't have a 'For Sale' sign out front."

L.E. Smith's production has been down, but has not been reduced further, Noonan said. "We haven't been at full production for some time, we're still at the production we were at last week."

Gerald Lucia, Mount Pleasant mayor, said that the factory has not filed for bankruptcy, but is negotiating a sale. The potential buyer currently lives in New Jersey and formerly worked for Corning Glass in State College.

"It needs a new product line. Everyone is talking now, to make a new buyer interested," Lucia said.

The glass workers are represented by the United Steelworkers of America; Lucia said that union representatives are trying to set up a meeting with Gov. Ed Rendell.

Lucia himself has spoken with the staff of U.S. Rep. John Murtha to find out what assistance he might provide. He expects a response soon.

The company is the last large glass plant in Mount Pleasant and employs about 40 hourly workers. This is down from more than 70 in November, when the factory began layoffs.

"Some of those guys have been employed there for 30 or 40 years. You feel bad for them," Lucia said.

"People are very emotionally caught up in this," Noonan said.

In 2002, the company nearly closed following a series of financial setbacks.

Jay Lustig, chairman and CEO of NBI Inc., which purchased L.E. Smith Glass in 1995, was able to prevent bankruptcy and improve the factory's finances at that time.

"As mayor, I'm very concerned. We're all holding our fingers crossed. Some of those guys have been employed there for 30 or 40 years. You feel bad for them," Lucia said.

600450 Mt. Pleasant: Smith Glass up for sale
Date: 21 June 2004

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