BEDFORD, Va. (July 15, 2010)—Closed-cell rubber foam manufacturer Rubatex International L.L.C. has shut down its Bedford production site, and no one is sure if it will reopen.
As of the middle of June, the plant was not operating, according to Larry Brookshier, a former executive vice president and shareholder at the company who was laid off as a sales representative last month. Workers at the 175,000-sq.-ft. plant were told June 21 that the operation was closing, he confirmed.
One Rubatex customer said his firm was never contacted about the closure.
The state of the economy over the past couple of years didn't help the situation in Bedford, Brookshier said, calling it a “challenge.”
Rubatex has been owned by German businessman Dominik Menakker since December 2008, when he bought the company from German rubber firm Sedo Chemicals Neoprene GmbH and other shareholders. Sedo bought about two-thirds of Rubatex from then-bankrupt RBX Corp. in 2004, with a group of American management employees, including Brookshier, purchasing the remainder of the shares.
The firm closed for about six months in 2004 during the Chapter 11 proceedings and ownership transition, but reopened in October.
At its peak, the company employed about 60, and the company was growing annually following the Sedo purchase until the recession hit, Brookshier said.
There are rumors about a new buyer or buyers interested in purchasing the Rubatex business, he said, but nothing has been confirmed.