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Iowa firm will close plants in North Dakota and Minnesota

JAMESTOWN, N.D. (AP) — An Iowa company is closing plants that manufacture power rakes in Jamestown, N.D., and Clarissa, Minn., in June, leaving more than 60 people without jobs.

Paladin Brands Holding Inc., a Cedar Rapids-based maker of attachments and tools used in heavy and light mobile equipment, said it will move its Harley Rake operation to a plant in Dexter, Mich.

Paladin chairman Bill Van Sant said the Jamestown plant has 40 employees and the Minnesota plant has 25.

Van Sant said the company will continue to employ five people at the Jamestown facility to maintain sales and customer support operations for the Harley Rake.

Employees losing their jobs will be offered a severance package and an opportunity to work at the Michigan plant, Van Sant said.

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The former owner of the operation was disappointed by the closing.

"This was not the McPherson family closing this plant," said Mac McPherson. "The sale of the company took place a year and a half ago. We’ve been just a landlord ever since."

Glenmac Inc. started operation in Jamestown in 1976 producing rock pickers. Over the years, it expanded and changed its product line to produce power rakes used in landscaping. In October 2005, McPherson sold the company to Paladin but retained ownership of the building that was then leased to Paladin, he said.

The announcement comes at a time when manufacturing interest in Jamestown is growing.

"We’re going to try to make lemonade out of lemons," said Connie Ova, chief executive officer of the Jamestown-Stutsman Development Corp. "We have some companies looking at some major expansions in Jamestown. Our dream is to not only house some new company in the manufacturing facility, but also have them hire some of the trained people from Harley."

McPherson, as owner of the factory building, also hopes to see a new tenant.

"From my standpoint as landlord, we are working on some ways to save those jobs," he said.

The Jamestown facility will produce more inventory from now through its closing at the end of June to cover sales until the Michigan plant starts production in September, the company said.

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Paladin, which was acquired by New York-based Dover Corp., last year, said it employs about 1,500 people in 19 manufacturing locations in the United States and Mexico.

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