Hawthorne economy struggling a year after Georgia-Pacific plant closing
It’s been more than a year since the Georgia-Pacific Plywood Mill closed in the small town of Hawthorne, and the city’s economy is still suffering from the loss.
Hawthorne lost more than 400 jobs when the mill shut its doors in late 2011.
“If you take out 450 jobs, then that’s 450 less people who have an opportunity to use goods and services within the city limits of Hawthorne,” Hawthorne’s city manager Ellen Vause said.
Although the city’s population has not yet changed, she said fewer people have been going to the local carwash, grocery stores, barbershops and restaurants.
“We’ve definitely seen a reduced number of people that have been in the area visiting our businesses,” Vause said.
She said the plant still has the same owners and they haven’t tried to sell the property.
“There’s always the anticipation that if they keep it and don’t sell it, that maybe one day it will open back up,” she said.
With a population of less than 1,500, the town decided to create a Facebook page called “Keep G.P. in Hawthorne.” The open group has more than 1,000 members and is still frequently used for citizens to find work.
Rebekah Geier edited this story online.
More Stories in Business
Manuel Zelaya, his brother Daniel and their longtime friend Marc Charbel are in their mid-twenties and co-founders of Lazy Delivery, a business that delivers groceries and other items from physical stores to area residents. They are expanding their business to Tallahassee later this month.
Two couples combine four businesses to make one large hangout for High Springs. The opening of The Corner is scheduled for next month.
Swamp Head Brewery has moved to a new location and installed solar panels, becoming the first solar-powered brewery in Florida. Their goal has always been to become more sustainable, and they have taken other initiatives such as buying land for preservation and aiding in conservation efforts to do so.
The city of Palatka is revitalizing its downtown through several development projects. At its center is the restoration of four vacant buildings that will contain commercial, residential and retail spaces.
Lucky’s Market is part of a growing trend of businesses opening along NW 13th Street, showing a push toward commercial restoration of the area. Other companies, retailers and small businesses may follow as a result of a more stable local economy.