January 25, 2021
The Lehigh Valley manufacturing plant that has produced iconic Dixie Cups for nearly a century will shut down operations by the end of 2021, owner Georgia-Pacific announced.
The plant, located in Northampton County near Easton, employs about 190 people who will be impacted by the closure. Georgia-Pacific, an Atlanta-based pulp and paper company owned by Koch Industries, plans to consolidate manufacturing operations at a single plant in Lexington, Kentucky. Approximately 50 jobs will be added at the Lexington site.
"Lehigh Valley will continue to make cups to support the business for the next several months as some of its cupmaking equipment is relocated to the Lexington site," the company said in a statement. "With the closure of the Lehigh Valley plant, it means that after 2021 all Dixie cups, including premium hot cups, recycled fiber cups and bath cups, will be made at the Lexington plant."
Last year, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Georgia-Pacific had planned to move some of its cup manufacturing from a plant in Darlington, South Carolina, to the plant in Pennsylvania, according to LehighValleyBusiness.
A spokesperson for the company said difficult market conditions resulted in abandoning that plan in favor of a single site in Kentucky.
Local officials said they were given no warning about the impending closure of the business, WFMZ-TV reported.
"We have a workers retention fund,” Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure told the station. "We're just very unhappy they (Georgia-Pacific) didn't approach us about it."
Georgia-Pacific said it plans to work with employees of the Pennsylvania plant to provide job placement services and will share opportunities for other openings within Koch Industries companies.
The original Dixie Cup plant in Wilson Borough — the one with the giant cup on top — opened in the 1920s and until it was shut down in 1982. That facility is currently undergoing remediation, with plans for a $100 million redevelopment as apartments and commercial space. The owner intends to renovate the Dixie Cup atop the property.
The newer plant that is closing is located in Forks Township.