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Pipestone meat plant employing 145 to close

PIPESTONE — A meat processing plant in Pipestone employing more than 100 people will be closing down this fall, as the business consolidates to facilities in St. Michael.

On Wednesday, J&B Group, Inc., announced that its Pipestone manufacturing plant is for sale. J&B Group will be consolidating operations by moving production to its headquarters in St. Michael, a news release said. The Pipestone facility produces fresh and frozen ground beef and steaks, and employs around 145 people, J&B Group said.

“The decision to sell the Pipestone facility is a result of a number of factors: a change in the product portfolio, the investment of $7.2 million in anticipation of new business that did not materialize and our desire to invest in infrastructure at the St. Michael facility,” said J&B President Chuck Weum. “By consolidating our operations, we gain efficiencies that will allow us to capitalize on growth opportunities while creating value in the marketplace.”

J&B Group has owned the Pipestone processing plant for the past 12 years. The company will be ceasing operations at the plant by Nov. 22, or within two weeks after that, the release said.

J&B Group is a wholesale distributor, freight logistics and protein manufacturing company. The news release said the company will handle increased production in St. Michael with additional equipment and production shifts.

“This was a long and difficult decision and not a reflection of the quality of work done by our associates in Pipestone,” Weum said. “We are working with our Pipestone associates to ensure they are getting the resources they need during this transition and are providing enhanced benefits and severance packages to help during this time.”

Employees affected by the sale of the Pipestone plant will have the opportunities in St. Michael and will be eligible for relocation assistance, J&B Group said. The company also plans to hold job fairs at the Pipestone plant, and to provide additional employment resources to help associates not able to move to St. Michael.

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