Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, November 12, 2001
McCain to close Anchor plant, cut 700 jobs
By JON FULBRIGHT
and ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 12, 2001 -- Anchor Foods, Reeves County's largest single
employer, will be closing its doors by the middle of next year, parent
company McCain Foods announced today.
The decision comes just three months after Canadian-based McCain bought
the plant, along with other facilities owned by Anchor Foods of Appelton,
Wisc. Anchor began operating its plant in Pecos in 1990, and in the past
11 years had expanded operations to over 700 workers at the facility on Interstate
However, with the purchase, Steve Prater, senior vice president of operations
and supply chain, said the company found there was an overcapacity in production
facilities following an analysis of the company after the August buy-out
of Anchor's operations.
"To be the low cost producer we need to close the Pecos facility," said
Prater, who arrived in Pecos today along with Kate Burgess of the company's
human resources department to deliver the bad news to the company's workers
at the Reeves County Civic Center, following meetings with the plant's managers
and supervisor Bruce Salcido.
"We wanted them to hear it from us instead of from somewhere else," said
Prater, who added that he and Burgess also met today with Reeves County Judge
Jimmy Galindo, Town of Pecos City mayor Ray Ortega and city manager Carlos
Yerena to tell them about the planned closing.
"This is very unfortunate news in regards to the McCain plant decision
to shut down the facility here, it will have a great impact on the families
in the community," said Galindo prior to an afternoon meeting of the Reeves
"We as elected officials and community members will try to do everything
in our power to try to keep Anchor in this community," he said.
Over the next few days, Galindo said he would try to have discussion with
elected officials, such as city, school, and other county representatives
to try to find a solution.
"We will try to put together the best tax abatement package we can for
McCain's consideration to try to keep the 500-700 jobs in the community,"
He added that they were inviting Bill Raaths, president of the company's
appetizers division, to meet with them. "We're going to invite him to meet
with us Thursday for a community meeting to see if there's a way to save
the jobs and keep McCain as a corporate partner in the community," he said.
Anchor's 700 employees represent about 10 to 12 percent of the entire
Reeves County workforce, though officials declined to say how much annual
salaries are for its workers in Pecos. The layoffs represent about four percent
of McCain Foods workforce within the combined McCain-Anchor Appetizers Group.
"It's certainly going to be a hardship on the community, but we feel by
doing it this way we can have as much lead time as possible to get to work
finding as many jobs for these people as possible," he said, adding that
operations are expected to continue at their current levels through the next
"We expect our operations here to be as normal as can be through the holidays
and into January and February. I wouldn't expect us to start ramping off
until the first of March," Prater said, while adding that other factors could
come into play.
Workers were given information today about the closing plans and Prater
said, "Bruce's staff along with our HR staff will be coming with small groups
to answer any questions they may have about any outplacement."
Prater said the nearest production operations are in Grand Island, Neb.,
while there are French fry potato production plants in Idaho, Maine and Wisconsin.
"I feel (Pecos workers) can handle similar skill sets," to those plants,
Representatives from those other plants will be brought to Pecos, "to
give people as much of an idea about what's out there as possible."
Prater said McCain will work with local officials and with state agencies
to try and find a new company that could take over the Pecos plant, while
at the same time saying workers would be offered jobs with McCain, though
none would be located in Texas or any of the surrounding states.
"There are certainly no guarantees about it, but we are committed to determining
if there is any alternative use of the facility," he said.
In a press release, Prather said "We considered a number of factors, including
line capabilities, production and transportation costs and capacity utilization
across our entire manufacturing system. Based on this, it was clear that
closing the Pecos facility was necessary to remain competitive in the extremely
tough food industry market."
Expanding on that, he said early this afternoon that the combined McCain-Anchor
facilities had an overcapacity of onion production plants, which is what
Pecos primarily produces, while McCain was not a major player in jalapeno
pepper production before the Anchor merger, but that the pepper operations
are done mainly at the company's other plants.
McCain finalized its purchased the operations of Anchor Foods in September,
which included its Appleton, Wis. headquarters and Wisconsin operations,
along with its plant in Pecos and another operation in Mexico. As part of
the deal, H.J. Heinz Company purchased Anchor's branded retail products business.
Specific terms of the three-party transaction were not announced.
Anchor had sales of $503 million in 2000. Along with onion rings, and
stuffed jalapenos, it produces and markets cheese appetizers and vegetable
appetizers, along with rolled and other specialty appetizers.
McCain Foods USA is a major manufacturer of frozen French fries, appetizers
and pizzas. It is part of McCain Foods Limited on Nova Scotia, Can., with
operations in 13 countries on five continents and sales of about $4 billion.
Wal-Mart eyes small expansion
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 12, 2001 -- Plans are in the works for an expansion of
the Pecos Wal-Mart, with more space being sought for food products.
However, there are no plans at this time to expand the store to the
size of one of the company's Supercenters which have full grocery departments
"We're due for remodeling next year and we have applied for an expansion,"
said Wal-Mart Assistant Manager Rene Gomez.
Gomez said that the store had applied for expansion and that two weeks
ago regional directors for the store had come in. "We have to receive approval
from them and they have to talk to their bosses," he said.
Gomez said the store is looking to improve and expand their food section.
"We're looking to get more groceries in here," said Gomez.
There have been rumors that the local Wal-Mart will become a Supercenter,
complete with groceries and other items, but Gomez said that won't be happening
any time soon.
"We have to have a good volume and that's where the community comes in,"
said Gomez. "We have to have the support of the community in order to do
The more volume, the more sales, the better the chances are that the store
will become a Supercenter, according to Gomez.
Gomez said that Fort Stockton has also been asking for an expansion. "They're
in the same situation that we're in, they're asking for an expansion," said
Both the Pecos and Fort Stockton Wal-Mart stores were among the first
ones to open in the Permian Basin, back in 1986. Other stores opened in the
area after that, and Supercenters were built in Midland, Odessa Big Spring
and Carlsbad, N.M. during the past decade.
Driver blamed for gas leak on west side of town
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 12, 2001 -- Southern Union Gas Company and the Pecos Volunteer
Fire Department were called out to a gas leak Sunday night on Highway
17 that was caused by an unknown driver.
"We had a run-over meter," said Johnny King, Permian Area Operations Manager
for Southern Union Gas. He added that it is unknown at this time who ran
over the meter.
The gas meter is connected to Eagle Tire Service building on Highway 17
and Veterans Boulevard, on the west side of Pecos.
The PVFD was called to the scene at approximately 7 p.m., last night,
and helped plug up the gas leak.
King said that the firefighters were already plugging up the leak when
Southern Union Gas employees arrived at the scene.
"They plugged off the blowing gas," he said.
King said that the Gas Company and the PVFD work together whenever a gas
"We've had a real good working relationship with the fire department,"
King explained that when a gas leak occurs a citizen usually contacts
an emergency number and the fire department.
"Once a meter is hit usually a citizen calls an emergency number to contact
us and the fire department," he said.
Southern Union and the PVFD did not have any problems last night plugging
up the leak, which is now under contro,l until the break could be fixed.
King said that the gas company would fix the meter, located just outside
Eagle Tire on the east side of Highway 17.
King also said that when the meter was run over it caused the connection
inside Eagle Tire to break, which now has to be fixed by a plumber.
"Then we can get them back in business," he said.
Southern Union workers should finish repairing the meter by late Tuesday
Most of the gas meters are located in the alleyways behind each home and
business, according to King.
Citizens can report a gas leak by calling the emergency number at 1-800-959-5325.
PHS senior class gap, gown sizings planned Tuesday
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 12, 2001 -- Pecos High School Seniors are required to
attend a meeting with Dick Jacks of the Herff Jones Company to place an order
for graduation announcements to be measured for their caps and gowns at 6:30
p.m., Tuesday in the high school cafeteria.
Parents of seniors are welcome to attend this meeting. Students are asked
to bring the order packets they received in their English IV classes, a ball-point
pen and a calculator.
Any student who does not have an English IV class or who has not yet received
an order packet may pick up one in the Student Services office at the high
school prior to attending the meeting.
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 12, 2001 -- High Sunday 76. Low this morning 45. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 50. Southeast winds 5 to 15
mph. Tuesday: Increasing cloudiness. Highs near 75. South winds 10
to 20 mph. Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance
of showers. Lows around 50. Wednesday: Cloudy with a 30 percent
chance of showers. Highs near 65. Thursday: Cloudy with a chance
of showers and thunderstorms. Lows 45 to 50. Highs near 65. Saturday
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2001 by Pecos Enterprise