Dal-Tile, a subsidiary of Mohawk Industries of Calhoun, Georgia, filed notice with the state this week that it intends to close its Lewisport facility and lay off 67 employees permanently.

“That plant was one of the first industries in Hancock County,” Mike Baker, director of the Hancock County Industrial Foundation, said Friday. “We hate to see it close. Hopefully, the employees can transition into other jobs here. There are just so many unknowns now.”

“It’s tough news with all the other recent news,” Hancock Judge-Executive Johnny Roberts Jr. said.

The Aleris rolling mill in Lewisport has been idled twice this spring by the coronavirus pandemic.

And Domtar has closed its Haweville mill for up to two months.

Baker said Dal-Tile employed more than 100 not long ago.

Roberts said the company was consolidating its operations and the Lewisport mill was the one it chose to close.

“We feel for the employees,” he said. “We’ll help them any way we can.”

In August 1954, Murray Tile Co. of Cloverport announced plans to build a plant in Lewisport that would employ 40 to 50 people making floor tile.

At its peak in the 1970s, the plant had from 225 to 250 employees.

In January 1996, what was then American Olean Tile merged with Dal-Tile International, a Texas company.

It employed 178 people then with a payroll of about $4.5 million.

The company used clay and shale from Hancock County to create floor tiles that were used around the world.

When Dal-Tile took it over, the plant was making 14 million square feet of tile a year.

At the time, most of the tiles produced in the 285,000-square-foot facility were in fast food restaurants, government buildings and prisons.

Home Depot was its largest customer.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301

klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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