The City of Perry loses its last mill, leaving hundreds of residents without a job

    A bridge over a road

    Another mill in the City of Perry is shutting down for good.

    West Fraser Timber Company announced last week that it will not be reopening its sawmill after Georgia Pacific shut down its papermill six months ago.

    “High fiber costs at Perry and a low-price commodity environment have impaired its ability to profitably operate,” said the spokesperson said in a statement.

    “Following the decision in January 2023 to indefinitely curtail the Perry Sawmill in Florida, which saw a small crew kept onsite to maintain the mill, West Fraser is now moving to permanently close the mill by the end of March. The few remaining workers will complete their last shifts this week. The equipment will then be assessed for use elsewhere.”

    Joyce Wagenaar, Director of Communications, West Fraser

    Taylor County Commissioner Thomas Demps told WFSU on Monday this is the first time in 100 years that the county will be without a functional factory.

    “My family depended on that mill,” he said. “My dad worked out there for years and I had a brother to work out there. It’s done great and it’s been a great asset to this county.”

    West Fraser blames high fiber costs and a softening lumber market in Perry for the mill closure. According to the press release, the company let go 126 employees last January but kept the facility open with a limited staff.

    The company will be moving all its equipment to another location where it will be reused.