News-Herald Staff Writer

CADIZ – Harrison County was struck another economic blow after the W.C. Cardinal Company closed its doors on Friday.

The company had operated at the Cadiz/Harrison County Industrial Park for more than 20 years. Its Web site touted it as a leader in the storage rack industry with such products as Roll Form and Structural Racks.

About 72 workers are off the job locally, but sources indicate the main firm, Excel Storage Products, shut down all of its plants across the nation to the tune of 825 jobs lost. Excel Storage Products is based in East Stroudsburg, Pa., but has manufacturing and distribution locations in Cadiz and Lodi, Calif.

The News-Herald attempted to contact company representatives at Excel and Cardinal, but no one could be reached as of that afternoon. The parking lot was bare, save for a few vehicles and the paper was directed to speak to representatives on Monday.

“We are proud of our associates and of our commitment to our customers,” notes a portion of its mission statement. However, this newspaper has learned the doors were shut without much warning.

Mike Sliva, president of the Cadiz Community Improvement Corp., confirmed he received word that day. “None of the employees knew. They were all shocked,” he said. “It was startling. We didn’t get anything from the company itself.”

He sympathized with the affected workers and said the community can only continue to move forward. “Our job as local business and economic leaders is to try to find things and re-employ them on other avenues. It’s heartbreaking and very concerning for the employees. It’s just sad in today’s state that people are still losing their jobs, and it’s harder for this area [with the current economy].”

Some of the management team will reportedly stay on for another two months to wind down operations.

The company had suffered temporary layoffs in April of 2008, and leaders at the time said 32 people were displaced due to faltering sales. A quarter of the workforce was forced off the job, most of which were basic production operators, in an effort to minimize expenses and improve sales. At one point, the company employed between 105 to 120 people. That summer, it leased the former St. Gobain Bayform building from the CIC after Bayform closed. Cardinal officials had used a portion of the space for its expanding product line and entered into a pact that provided a graduated agreement over a five-year period. The Bayform building at the industrial park now lodges the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Mine Safety Training Center.