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STOCKTON-

Hormel has been a mainstay in Stockton for decades and employees who’ve raised families while working there are sad to see it go.

“It’s very hard, very hard. It’d be hard any time of the year,” long-time worker Laurie DeLange said.

But especially just before Thanksgiving, to be told you’ll soon be out of a job.

“It’s too expensive to run a company out here.”

That’s what the plant manager and a Hormel attorney told 110 workers, when they sat them down in the lunch room on Monday, to break the devastating news. The plant will close it’s doors by Feb. 20.

“(There were) a lot of tears. A lot,” DeLange said.

In a prepared statement, the company’s vice president said:

The decision to cease operating at our Stockton plant was a very difficult one because of its impact on our valued team members who work there.

DeLange is one of them, who’s worked at the plant for 19 years, mostly as a forklift operator, enabling her to provide for her three children.

She says employees were given severance packages but not an offer to relocate to other plants in Minnesota or Atlanta.

“It’s obviously very disappointing to lose 110 employees in our city that probably depend on that company and that job so they can put food on the table,” Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva said.

Food like Hormel chili and Dinty Moore beef stew, made right here in Stockton – a power house for the past 65 years in the central valley.

But sales dropped by three percent, and profit by 21 percent in the fourth fiscal quarter by the end of October.

“We have to be encouraged that we’re gonna go out and try to find new companies that want to come into Stockton. Times have changed and things are getting better each and every day in the city,” Silva said. “And so it’s time for us to move forward and now is the time to attract new businesses and new companies.”