ARDMORE, Okla. (KFOR) — Michelin has been a part of the Ardmore community for over 50 years and now the community is trying to imagine how they’ll deal with the economic ripple effect of their closure.
“It was a big shock,” said Kevin Boatright, Ardmore City Manager.
Ardmore’s biggest employer announced they will be ending tire production by the end of 2025.
“It’s going to affect us financially as a city, you know, over the next 12 plus months as they do that. Because as you know, in the state of Oklahoma, municipalities are completely dependent on sales tax,” said Boatright.
Michelin officials said in the news release that the decision comes after determining that the Ardmore plant is not equipped to deliver tires at competitive costs “to meet these evolving market demands.”
Boatright explained this will have more than just a financial impact on the community.
“Besides being a large payroll provider, if you will, for the community, for a lot of people, they were active in our community,” said Boatright.
According to Southern Tech Superintendent Eric Ward, Michelin employees use their school’s facilities for training, but that could eventually come to an end.
“If that means we need to re-tool some of our programs to better meet the needs of other employers in the area, then that’s what we’ll do,” said Ward.
City officials said although this was unexpected, they believe their town will bounce back.
“I think in the grand scheme of things that people were positive and that, you know, we’re going to land on our feet. And I think that’s just says a lot to the nature of the people that are here,” said Boatright.
Rubber mixing operations will continue at the Ardmore plant and the first wave of lay-offs will happen in mid 2024.