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General Mills Says Adiós To Taco Shell Plant

Minneapolis-based maker of brands such as Pillsbury and Betty Crocker closing factory in northwestern Wisconsin in August 2008, eliminating 113 jobs.

POPLAR, Wis. (AP) — General Mills Inc. will close a taco shell factory in this northwestern Wisconsin town, eliminating 113 jobs next year.
The Minneapolis-based maker of brands such as Pillsbury and Betty Crocker told the plant's employees of the decision Tuesday.
The company plans to sell the facility and surrounding land. The plant is expected to close in August.
''The decision to close the facility was made after careful consideration of every available option,'' General Mills Vice President of Manufacturing Paul Lokar said in a statement.
General Mills took over the plant when it acquired Pillsbury in 2001. The plant first began producing taco shells in 1974 under the Taco Si name. It later operated as the Pancho Villa Taco Shell Co. and as PV Industries, before its sale to Pillsbury.
State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, said the plant is the largest employer in the area. Poplar has 552 residents.
''This plant has been the economic backbone of the region,'' Jauch said.
General Mills said it will offer severance benefits and transition services, such as help writing resumes.
Jauch said economic groups in the area might try to use the plant and its employees to bring in a new employer. But he said the rural location would prove challenging.
''It's easier to recruit jobs to a large city,'' he said. ''A closure like this has a greater economic impact because it's tough to replace jobs in a rural area.''
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