Jeld-Wen, a Klamath Falls, Ore., maker of doors and windows, has announced plans to end manufacturing operations at its plant in Gainesville.
The decision, announced to employees on Tuesday, will result in the layoffs of 40 workers during the next four weeks. The company has an employee assistance program in place, a spokeswoman said.
"This change will help Jeld-Wen maintain a presence in Gainesville even though it is on a smaller scale," said Rick Hetherington, a senior vice president. "It is possible that a strong uptick in the housing industry could restore the full assembly operation in the future."
The plant will become a sales and distribution facility with a staff of 8 to 10 workers.
This is the first Jeld-Wen plant to completely shut down manufacturing, according to Teri Cline, a company spokeswoman in Oregon. She said, however, the company will keep its equipment used in manufacturing at the Gainesville site and the plant could reopen when conditions improve.
Jeld-Wen began operating the Murphy Boulevard plant in 2004 when it acquired Seasonshield, another window and door maker.
The company, in its announcement, cited the 52 percent drop in housing starts in the past two years as the reason behind its decision. The National Association of Homebuilders predicts building permits for 2008 will be far below the 2007 levels.
Jeld-Wen becomes the second window-and-door-maker in Gainesville to fall victim to the sluggish housing market.
Peachtree Windows and Doors laid off 200 workers between January and March as it shifted production to a plant in Wisconsin.