On Thursday, an Outagamie County judge approved the $21.5 million sale of Appleton Coated to Industrial Assets, a liquidation company based in California, but will allow the mill to be on the market for 90 more days so other potential buyers can make offers.
More than 600 employees were temporarily laid off last month. Now, only 100 will return to work to keep the building running during the 90 days.
Even if a new sale is approved in the next three months, many Appleton Coated employees can’t wait that long.
“I’ve been there just a little over 25 years,” Ron Kohl, an Appleton Coated employee who has been temporarily laid off, said. “I did apply for unemployment, and I’ve been searching for jobs, and a lot of my coworkers have. Some have accepted positions with other companies, and a lot of them are still looking today.”
Appleton Coated filed for Chapter 128 and went into receivership in August after operating at a loss of over $2 million per month.
“There’s some strong interest in our company, and hopefully they come forward now and purchase us and continue to run us,” Kohl said.
A new buyer would have to figure out how to get Appleton Coated to turn a profit again.
However, if the factory closes down, it would be a crippling blow to the Combined Locks area.
“It’s going to hurt businesses…because after awhile if you don’t find another job, it’s just not good for the community, it’s going to hurt a lot more than just the people who are losing their jobs,” Kohl added.