The economy has hit local manufacturing plants hard in recent weeks. First it was Georgia Pacific, and then Louisiana Pacific. Despite the tight times, business at another local manufacturer, is still booming. Juliet Brown doesn't work for International Paper but she has family members who do. “We're hoping that all things turn around for the best.” She like many Columbus County residents worry that a large industry like International Paper could be the next to close down. That fear started last week, when Georgia Pacific announced that it is laying off 400 employees come December. International Paper makes paper boards which turn in to items like paper cups, plates, and calendars. A company spokesperson said its 700 plus employees are safe. “You know it's always tough to speculate, but we're making paper, we're making our products, our machines are running, and I don't see anything in the foreseeable future,” said Kimbery Gill, company spokesperson. Juliet Brown is not convinced. “Everyday they're telling you that it's alright and people are thinking it's alright and then they find out the next morning that they have no job.” International Paper officials said there is still a demand for paper products, and employees spoken to off-camera said they feel their jobs are secure. International Paper has 24 paper mills nationwide. Officials said the cost of fuel is an issue for the company, so they've been trying to cut back in that area.
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