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Trico to Close Last Buffalo Facility

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – After 85 years, Trico Products is ceasing all operations in Buffalo. The windshield wiper maker announced Tuesday it will close its local facility in the Buffalo Industrial Park, a move that will cost 212 jobs.

Trico had said in August that its Buffalo facility was at risk. So Tuesday's announcement wasn't really a surprise. Still, it's a blow to the city that gave birth to Trico in 1917. The company once employed five thousand people at three plants.

Company vice president Martin Kennedy said the decision to end Trico's Buffalo presence should not be viewed as an indictment of the local economy.

"The workforce has been great. We appreciate everything the city and state have done for us," Kennedy said. "But at the end of the day, it's all about competing in the global marketplace. Ultimately, that's what our decision was based on."

Trico began phasing out its local operations in the mid-1980s when much of its manufacturing was shifted to plants along the Texas-Mexico border. In 1998, Trico's local headquarters was moved to Michigan. But incentives from the city and state convinced Trico to continue a minimal manufacturing presence at a new facility in the Buffalo Industrial Park. Yet, Kennedy said even government help was not enough to keep Trico here.

"I had a call from the United Auto Workers union that potentially there were $3 million in funds available from the state," Kennedy said. "But quite frankly, this was not about that."

Kennedy said the Buffalo plant will be phased out in the next 12 to 15 months.