Manufacturer to shut Mexico plant, open in Delaware

ILC Dover, a Dover, Del. hazmat-suit and protective-equipment maker, says it will shut its newly-acquired Grayling Industries plant in Juarez, Mexico, and move production to a new facility in Seaford, Delaware. Grayling offices will remain in Alpharetta, Ga.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell annonced the move in his yearly State of the State address. Grayling makes protective suits and asbestos-abatement products, among lines. Delaware plans to give ILC $364,500 in "strategic funds," plus up to $187,860 in capital expenditure matching funds. 

In exchange, ILC will hire at least 35 workers by April, and a total of 115 by the end of the year. In a statement, ILC boss William Wallach called Delaware "very cooperative." 

Total ILC employment in the state, including the planned new Grayling works, will total 560. The firm was previously known as International Latex Corp. 

The move (small as it is) defies the longtime drain of U.S. manufacturing jobs to countries with cheaper labor rates. Seaford is the former home of DuPont's nylon manufacturing business and has suffered from plant closures over the past 20 years. ILC will put its factory line in a warehouse DuPont built in 1991, which had been vacant since DuPont left town.

EARLIER: Last June Kraft Foods pledged $10 million (including a $456,000 state grant) to move its Kool-Aid production line (and 29 jobs) from a plant in Ecatepec, Mexico, to Kraft's existing 1 million sq ft food factory in Dover.