Shelby, MI (July 2nd, 2021) — Due to an unexpected year-over-year Montmorency tart cherry crop shortage in Michigan, Cherry Central Cooperative has announced a closure of operations at the Oceana Foods Facility in Shelby, Michigan. The facility, located at 168 Lincoln Street in Shelby, Michigan, will close on August 31st, 2021, with no fixed date to reopen.
The Oceana Foods Facility specializes in the processing and drying of Montmorency tart cherries grown in and around Michigan. Recent updates to harvest estimates have confirmed that, due to extreme weather-related crop reductions, there will not be a sufficient Montmorency tart cherry crop in Michigan to maintain production at the Oceana Foods Facility. The closure will affect 74 employees across three shifts.
“Our business and livelihoods rely profoundly on a successful Montmorency tart cherry crop each year, and it was painful to learn that poor weather conditions will yield a much lower crop than anticipated for the second year in a row,” said Melanie LaPerriere, CEO at Cherry Central Cooperative. “Our commitment is first to our dedicated employees who will be negatively impacted by the closure. We are working with our employees, their families and the community to assist in their transition in any way we can.”
Staff members who stay at Oceana Foods until the facility’s August closure will receive financial incentives in key departments as well as assistance in filing for unemployment benefits post-closure. A select few employees will remain on-staff to maintain the facility throughout the duration of the shutdown. Cherry Central’s board hopes to eventually reopen the facility and remains in the process of exploring the facility’s options.
“Though we hope to reopen the facility in the future, we don’t currently have a timeline in place and will need to reevaluate later in the year as more information becomes available,” said LaPerriere. “The earliest the facility could reopen would be August 2022, when we would be preparing for the 2022 cherry crop.”
Cherry Central’s board hopes to eventually reopen the facility and remains in the process of exploring the facility’s options. The Cherry Central staff will inform current employees of any reopening plans.
Cherry Central is preparing to transition processing to an affiliate facility upon approval of the customer. Representatives of Cherry Central will reach out to their contacts as more information becomes available.
Any questions should be directed to Melanie LaPerriere at firstname.lastname@example.org.