US: Getting over Simplot – How a town healed in 15 years since potato processing plant closure

Simplot closureWhen J.R Simplot Co. announced in May 2002 it would close its Heyburn potato-processing plant in Idaho and put nearly 650 people out of work, many feared Mini-Cassia would dry up like Idaho’s mining ghost towns. “People were really worried, and it absolutely was a tough time,” economist Jan Roeser said. But as the 15th anniversary of that day approaches, Mini-Cassia’s economy is thriving. Minidoka and Cassia county population, which dipped after the plant’s 2003 closure, began a slow ascent by 2007 and now has grown by more than 3,000 people. Since 2009, the area has added 3,344 jobs. Unemployment dropped to a low 3.1 percent last year. And on the same site where Simplot produced french fries, workers now make cheese, provide drug counseling and wash semi trucks. More
See also: Timeline of Simplot’s Heyburn potato plant