Last updated: August 27. 2013 11:52AM - 50 Views

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Best Brands Corp. announced to 53 employees Wednesday it would be closing its Fantasia Confections plant in Sedalia March 17.

Best Brands has enough job openings at its other plants, the nearest of which is Bonner Springs, Kan., to absorb the entire Sedalia workforce, said G. Scott Humphrey, president and CEO of the Minnetonka, Minn.

“We were certainly disappointed to hear the news,” Sedalia Mayor Bob Wasson said. “They have been such a good, supportive employer in this community.”

Sedalia will feel the loss of Best Brands Corp., the mayor said. “We’re losing a member of the family,” Wasson said.

The Sedalia plant closing is largely the result of Best Brands’ acquisition about a year ago of a large, modern production plant in the Los Angeles area, Humphrey said. Sedalia “didn't have the fit for where our business was going,” Humphrey said. The company has four larger, more efficient plants.

Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County is trying to implement Workforce Development Rapid Response, a federally funded state program.

“One of the things that’s available is the opportunity for the employee to work with the Workforce Development and help them decide if they want to go to school and get training for a new career,” said Linda Christle. “The state will work very hard with the employees to help them transition to their new jobs.”

Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County works with people directly, Christle said.

“But, sometimes companies make decisions based on their golden objective, and we’ll work to turn this situation into a positive,” she said. “It’s over a two month transition and not something that’s happening tomorrow.”

Employees are being offered an enhanced severance package, the services of a private job-hunting firm and job training services through the state economic development agency.

Dale Bersano, an employee of Best Brands Corp. in Sedalia, declined to comment about the company’s decision to close the Sedalia plant, saying the employees “were told not to comment.”

Best Brands manufactures Fantasia cakes, thaw-and-serve muffins and other bakery products. At the height of its production, Multifoods employed 150 people at its plant in the Sedalia Industrial Park.

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