Belvidere, sick. (WIFR) – News of the temporary shutdown of the Stellantis factory in Belvidere has affected not only workers but also local businesses.
One manager said he often sees a lively atmosphere among factory workers at the bars he oversees, but that could change after news of the shutdown broke.
Bob Wagner helps oversee the operations of three businesses in Belvidere: Wild Cherry’s, Countryside Fresh Market and Backstop Bar and Grill.
“It’s very disappointing. Very, very disappointing,” Wagner said. “I see it in their eyes; disaster because they don’t know what’s going to happen with their lives and everything else. I mean, it’s definitely hurting our business. Because they’re very supportive.”
After hearing the news of the closure, Wagner became concerned. Many of his clients work for Stellantis and his business depends on them.
“We’re talking about adding a program, we’re halfway there so we can get more people here, but now we might have to stop that program.”
Senator Dave Syverson said he was disappointed by the decision.
“Part of the problem with Illinois is that it’s not really a job-friendly state, so companies have decided to move elsewhere.”
He said many manufacturers are struggling to increase productivity, but he believes the Belvidere plant is one of the most efficient in the state, with some of the most skilled workers.
“You’d think companies would be smarter and understand that workforce is more important than location today, but at this point they don’t seem to get it.”
Syverson said he would work with state and U.S. officials to reach an agreement to save the plant or allow someone else to operate it.
Nearly 40 percent of Boone County’s jobs are in manufacturing. About 6,000 people in the county work in the industry, according to 2020 Census data.
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