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Kemps to close Rochester milk facility

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Kemps is pictured on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in Southeast Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
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This summer, St. Paul-based Kemps is closing its Southeast Rochester site, where 125 people work.

The announcement came late Tuesday afternoon. The milk plant, which occupies half of the Associated Milk Producers Inc. -owned facility at 700 1st Ave. SE, is scheduled to close on June 30.

Kemps employs 125 people at the AMPI facility, where they produce and package fluid milk, cream, half-and-half and other fluid dairy products.

This closure will not affect the more than 200 Kemps employees who work at the ice cream production facility on North Broadway. The ice cream plant will remain in operation.

After more than 60 years of processing milk in the Med City, Kemps CEO and President Greg Kurr wrote that AMPI's own ending of operations and listing the complex for sale propelled this change.

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"Business decisions that impact people’s lives are difficult," Kurr wrote in a prepared statement. "In evaluating our options, it became apparent ceasing operations is the best long-term strategy for our business. The employees at this facility have done an excellent job, and we greatly appreciate their hard work and dedication."

AMPI's closure resulted in 75 lost jobs. This latest announcement will bring the tally of lost jobs to 200.

The Teamsters Local 120 represents about 350 Kemps employees in Rochester at the milk plant and the ice cream facility as well as the AMPI employees.

Kemps pledges to work with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to help its 125 employees through this transition.

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The closing of Kemps' milk processing facility and the related AMPI cheese operation has put 200 people out of work. Many of the Kemps employees were longtime workers."Nobody even knows how to do a resume, it has been so long," said John Chappuis, the business agent for Teamsters 120 in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

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