An assertion had been made at the North Adams City Council meeting Tuesday night that the shop had closed and tossed 25 people out of work.
White, who answered the phone on Wednesday with the buzz of equipment in the background, said that wasn't exactly true. "We didn't close," he said. "We kept one part of the shop open."
The 25-year-old company uses an electrostatic process to lay a powder, rather than liquid, coating over metal products. It also does pretreating, custom work, sandblasting and related work. It was one of the largest operation of its kind in New England.
When business was good, some 35 people were employed at the Howland Avenue facility. But, like so many other small businesses in the region, it's been undercut by cheaper work out of China and has seen orders drop off. White estimates about 75 percent of the company's regular customers have defected to China.
It most recently employed about a dozen people and there was talk of shutting down the operation. White's trying to persevere with some part-time help until things look up.
"I'm trying to build the business along with [owner] R.J. Scullin," said White. "We still have the production line, we still have the ovens. We're trying to find the right direction."
That includes an energy audit to help cut down on costs and more aggressive marketing to build a base of loyal, local customers. But he's been running into a problem.
"I've been really marketing for two weeks and people say to me, 'I thought you were closed,'" said the Adams native. "We're still here, we still exist."
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