January 13, 2010 | last updated May 26, 2012 9:40 am

West Haven tableware plant shuts

A Wisconsin manufacturer is closing its West Haven plant that makes napkins, table cloths, tray mats and other disposable tableware, idling 85 workers, officials said.

The Foodservice Division of Hoffmaster Group Inc., of Oshkosh, Wis., has immediately suspended production at its West Haven facility. All customer shipments from inventory will end by Jan 29.

Employees learned of the plant closure Tuesday.

Hoffmaster Group, whose business is making and distributing sanitary tableware for the restaurant, hospitality and transportation markets, has been consolidating operations acquired in 2008 when it bought former Smith-Lee in Oneida, N.Y., and its affiliate, Brooklace Inc. in West Haven.

Last April Hoffmaster closed a Smith-Lee tableware factory in Oneida, displacing 70 jobs.

Foodservice President Jeffrey R. Miller said production volume from the closed West Haven plant is being absorbed into its Oshkosh facility.

"Since the acquisitions ... we have been carefully reviewing our overall operations," Miller said in a statement today. "... Our plan to further consolidate manufacturing and distribution is necessary given the level of excess capacity we continue to have.''

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