NAPPANEE — One-hundred sixty jobs will be lost when a contract for ABC Companies ends in September. But some of the ABC employees may be able to move to new operations building double-decker buses or small and mid-sized shuttle and specialty buses.
ABC announced Monday it will close its factory at 504 S. Oakland Ave, building 12, by Sept. 15. The company leases the facility from Fleetwood. The workers there have been refurbishing high-mileage interstate buses for Greyhound since 2010.
The new double-decker bus contract will be fulfilled in a different, nearby factory. According to Jon Savitz, senior vice president of business development for ABC, the new contract will require about 60 workers initially. That contract is with Alexander Dennis of Edinburgh, Scotland.
“This was a project to refurbish Greyhound buses that were a certain age and vintage and we have run through the entire population of those buses,” Savitz said.
ABC will now begin ramping up operations for the Alexander Dennis contract this fall.
“By the end of the year,” Savitz said, “we should employ about 80 or 90 people in that operation.”
Alexander Dennis’ e400 bus, a two-axle, energy-efficient bus and the e500 bus, a three-axle vehicle, will be assembled in Nappanee. Alexander Dennis supplies transit buses to several North American cities, including Toronto and Las Vegas, according to Savitz. The buses are also used in the tourist trade, such as found in Chicago’s Loop.
ABC also owns Ameritrans in Elkhart, which makes small and mid-sized buses at a factory along Ada Drive on the city’s north side. Savitz expects a few of ABC workers in Nappanee will be able to placed with Ameritrans.
ABC Companies is based in Minnesota and operates 11 facilities nationwide.
Nappanee Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Kitson was busy Wednesday answering questions from the media.