Georgia Pacific-Crossett plans to keep one of its lines previously scheduled to close running as long as demand for the product it produces remains.

The company also plans to invest in excess of $37 million in its Crossett operations in the next year.

The Sparkle paper towel line in Crossett was scheduled to shut down Dec. 31. It has, however, continued operation and will do so for the immediate future, GP-Crossett Spokeswoman Jennifer King said.

“That machine continues to run and we anticipate it continuing to run in the near future and into the end of the New Year due to customer demand,” King said.

“Because of the fluidity of the situation, some of the people scheduled to lose jobs on Dec. 31 are still employed.

“It is all driven by customer demand. That is also a very fluid situation in the marketplace. We will continue to run that line to meet demand.”

As the year moves forward, GP will invest more than $37 million in information technology infrastructure to make communications more streamlined, as well as infrastructure improvements to the physical facility.

“It is going to include but not be limited to a very expensive roof project,” King said. “Some of those buildings are very old and very leaky.”

The company will also be doing some improvements to its machines to make them more productive, including to the automatic wrapping equipment.

“A lot of it is very technical on the machines, but it is to increase production,” King said.

“We are focused right now on being a premier maker of toilet paper using world class technology and a world class workforce.”

GP announced plans in June to shutter a significant portion of its Crossett operation and lay off or transfer the workforce associated with it.

The company currently has 600 employees still in place following the closures that have happened, and King said when the Sparkle line closes, the company will still have between 500 and 550 workers on its payroll.

“We will still be the largest employer by far in Ashley County,” she said. “We are looking forward to the future, we are very optimistic and we are not going anywhere anytime soon.

“We have a future in Crossett, and we are committed to this community and to Ashley County.”

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