J&B Group, a wholesale distributor, freight logistics and meat processor, has announced that its Pipestone, Minn., manufacturing plant is for sale and that it is consolidating operations by moving the Pipestone production to its St. Michael headquarters. J&B Group has owned the Pipestone meat processing plant for the past 12 years and employs approximately 145 people at that location. All impacted associates will have opportunities in St. Michael and will be eligible for relocation assistance, the company said in a statement.

J&B group will be ceasing all operations at the Pipestone plant by November 22 or within two weeks thereafter. The company produces fresh and frozen ground beef and steaks at the Pipestone facility, much of which will now be handled at the St. Michael facility.

“The decision to sell the Pipestone facility is a result of a number of factors: a change in the product portfolio, the investment of $7.2 million in anticipation of new business that did not materialize and our desire to invest in infrastructure at the St. Michael facility,” said J&B President Chuck Weum. “By consolidating our operations, we gain efficiencies that will allow us to capitalize on growth opportunities while creating value in the marketplace.

“This was a long and difficult decision and not a reflection of the quality of work done by our associates in Pipestone,” Weum added. “We are working with our Pipestone associates to ensure they are getting the resources they need during this transition and are providing enhanced benefits and severance packages to help during this time.”

In addition, J&B said it plans to hold job fairs at the Pipestone plant and to provide additional employment resources to aid those associates not able to move to St. Michael.

Pipestone Mayor Myron Koets told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he and other civic leaders are mobilizing to help the employees who are affected by the closure.

"The question we're grappling with is how do we keep people in the community so they don't move away," Koets said. "It has a substantial ripple effect."

Koets said he hoped that a buyer would acquire the facility, as the plant qualifies as an Opportunity Zone, a program established by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income and urban communities across the nation.

Source: J&B Group, Minneapolis Star-Tribune