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No. 23 Willow Brook Foods closing

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On March 31, 2008, Willow Brook Foods’ Springfield operations were closed after being acquired by Cargill Value Added Meats, a business unit of Wichita-based Cargill Meat Solutions.

Cargill purchased the two Willow Brook operations in Springfield along with other Willow Brook operations. The company closed both Springfield plants, 501 N. Main Ave. and 405 N. Jefferson Ave., eliminating 780 local jobs.

Cargill offcials said at the time that the Springfield plants were closed for cost-efficiency, as the aging facilities would have required a lot of capital investment to bring them up to code.

Willow Brook, which processed turkeys, was facing economic pressure at the time of the sale, partly due to high prices for corn and soybeans used to raise the birds.

Springfield Willow Brook employees were encouraged to apply for jobs at other Cargill facilities, and outplacement services and some severance packages were provided for those who chose not to move.

In May 2009, Missouri State University purchased the North Jefferson facility. Following renovations, it will become the Robert W. Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development, part of the IDEA Commons, which brings together innovation, design, entrepreneurship and the arts.

See the full list of pivotal points chosen by the Springfield Business Journal here.
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