© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Your source for information and inspiration in Western North Carolina.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

May 24: The final whistle blows, ending an era as Canton Paper Mill begins shutdown

Canton Mill
Lilly Knoepp
Canton Mill

Canton paper mill’s final whistle will blow Wednesday, May 24, at noon, marking the beginning of the shutdown of the town’s largest employer, according to Canton Mayor Zeb Smathers who made the announcement Monday on Twitter.

Pactiv Evergreen announced the closure in March, which came as a surprise to many in the community. At the announcement, the last day was expected to be in early June. Local and state officials have worked help mill employees with everything from employment to health care.

The announcement of the paper mill closure leaves residents and leaders with more questions than answers. State and local leaders hope to not only rebuild the economic stability of the town but also hold Pactiv Evergreen accountable for the $12 million it received in state funds as an economic incentive for job creation.

Canton Mayor Zeb Smathers said local, state and national leaders are working together to address the challenges.

The mill has been in operation since 1908 and employs around 1,200 people, most who work at the main plant in Canton. Governor Roy Cooper launched a website to share information and resources for people in western North Carolina who are looking for jobs, news about the closure, mental health resources and more.

Helen Chickering is a host and reporter on Blue Ridge Public Radio. She joined the station in November 2014.