A St. Pauls plant will close at the end of April putting 95 people out of work.
Paraclete Armor, a brand of Point Blank Solutions based in Pompano Beach, Fla., plans to cease operations at the St. Pauls plant effective May 1, said Glenn Wiener, a company spokesman. The Paraclete Armor plant makes protective body armor for federal agencies and local law enforcement.
“The decision to close our St. Pauls facility was not an easy one. However, given the growth in our business and our multiple manufacturing facilities, we will be consolidating our manufacturing footprint to better service our global customers,” Wiener said in a statement.
Paraclete Armor plans to move its production from St. Pauls to two other manufacturing facilities in South Florida.
“For over 15 years, Paraclete Armor has operated in the St. Pauls area, and we are truly grateful for everything the community and our local government officials have done for our company,” Wiener said. “We are doing all that we can for our employees and greatly value their contributions and unquestioned dedication to producing safe, comfortable and high-performance protective solutions.”
The company notified its 95 full-time employees Feb. 27, when it filed notice of the closure with the state Department of Commerce.
“It’s definitely devastating to that geographic area,” said Greg Cummings, Robeson County Economic Development director. “Paraclete Armor was one of the largest employers there. Undoubtedly, the war winding down has forced their consolidation.”
But Cummings and town officials are optimistic that another industry will relocate to the plant or to the town’s industrial park, which is a state-certified site.
The Interstate 95-St. Pauls Industrial Park was built with the hopes of attracting defense contractors that Cummings and other regional leaders believe will relocate near Fort Bragg with base realignment. BRAC has brought the new headquarters for Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command and about 2,800 high-paying jobs to the Fayetteville base.
But so far, realignment has failed to attract the hundreds of contractors that were said would follow.
“We hadn’t anticipated losing Paraclete Armor,” Cummings said. “But we’re in hopes that with the two command centers being complete that we’ll see these military procurement contracts looking to relocate in our area.”