ALEXANDER CITY, AL (WSFA) - It's a decision Mayor Barbara Young says blindsided the city.
Wednesday afternoon, she received word from company officials that Russell Corporation would move 216 jobs from an office in Alex City to Fruit of the Loom's corporate headquarters in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
"They just said it's time to begin to do some more coordination. They're just going to move some out and give some a chance to go if they want to, otherwise they'll retire them," Young explained.
Now, Alex City has a problem on its hands. The powerhouse company that started there more than a century ago continues to shed its local workforce.
"They had 7,200 hundred employees, and we're way below 1,500 employees now," said Don McClellan, Director of the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance.
It's a drop that leaves hundreds more residents out of work and economic developers looking for ways to keep Alex City afloat.
"We've lost probably now--including this--about 6,500 jobs, so it keeps on being devastating," McClellan said.
Business owners say the move will no doubt hurt sales and keep people away from the area.
"Alex city is needing jobs. There are a lot of people that don't have jobs, and they're going to have to go to other cities," said Adam Young, co-owner of Jim Bob's Chicken Fingers.
Jobs--and people--leaders say this small city cannot afford to lose.
"We have found that we're resilient and we've found that we can do other things," Young said.
"We've already decided that we're not going to dry up and blow away, but we need to do something so these people can have jobs in our community," McClellan exclaimed.
City leaders say they'll offer training and assistance for the 216 displaced workers--if they choose not to relocate.
Meanwhile, they'll try to attract new businesses to the area.
The cuts also affect Monroeville. For Fruit of the Loom's statement, click here.
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