Hutch shuts down plant
A small company that came to Loudon in the 1970s is closing its doors and auctioning off equipment and supplies.
Located downtown near the river at 200 Commerce Road in Loudon, Hutch Manufacturing's main product line was fireplace inserts.
The company also manufactured chimney flues and caps, fireplace brackets, hearth pans, dampers, pokers, cleanout doors, aluminum doors and frames, basement windows and cast iron grilles.
Pat Phillips, Loudon County Economic Development Agency director, said Hutch Manufacturing's work force had dwindled to about 15-20 employees in recent years.
"They probably had well over 100 people at one time, but like a lot of other companies engaged in providing residential construction materials, they were hit hard by the economy," Phillips said.
Hutch Manufacturing began as Building Products Manufacturing Company in Detroit in 1971 and moved operations to Loudon in 1978. For 40 years, the company was a manufacturer and supplier of cast iron, steel and aluminum building products.
The company's website at http://www.hutchmanufacturing.com simply states, "We are closed. Thank you for your past patronage."
The company is conducting an online auction Jan. 23-26.
David Oleshansky, owner, said the decision to close was not an easy one.
"We've been here a long time - since 1978. Through the years, we have employed hundreds of people," Oleshansky said.
"It's my company and I made the decision to close down," he said. "We make building supplies and this economy certainly hasn't helped. We are advertising our machinery and property for sale. This is a historical property, so maybe somebody will want it and develop it the way they want to see the downtown developed."
Oleshansky said the property includes three buildings. The main facility is a 1948 red brick structure that formerly served as the Bacon Creamery. Two older buildings were the Bacon Hosiery Mill properties and are from the 1920s.
The old water tank is something of a city landmark and was included among landmark images used for a downtown marketing and branding effort. The rusted tank with fading lettering proclaims Bacon Hosiery Mill. Some local residents believe it should be painted. Others want it removed.
Lynn Mills, Loudon city manager and Loudon Utilities Board manager, said the property would be an asset for the city and/or LUB. It is located near the LUB building and could be used for parking, expansion or possibly a new location.