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Ebonite, Long-Time Bowling Ball Maker, Permanently Closing In Hopkinsville


  A long-time bowling ball manufacturing company in Hopkinsville, Ebonite International, is permanently closing, affecting more than 100 jobs.


Flo Bowling reports Brunswick, another bowling products manufacturer, purchased all assets of Ebonite, including brands, trademarks and technologies. Production at Ebonite’s facilities in Hopkinsville will shut down immediately, with production being moved to a Brunswick plant in  Reynosa, Mexico.


Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble in a phone call said he was notified Friday afternoon Ebonite was closing after 52 years operating in the city. He said 110 hourly workers and 61 salaried employees will be laid off, with most employees receiving severance pay until January 13.


“It’s a shock. I mean, I had no idea they were even considering selling,” Tribble said. “Of course, that’s one of our claims to fame has been that more bowling balls are made here than any place in the all of these folks are going to be looking for work.”


Tribble said the Pennyrile Area Development District will start work on Monday to assist Ebonite employees in finding new employment. 


West Kentucky Workforce Board Director Sheila Clark said in a phone call the board will have information and dates for upcoming “rapid response events” on their website and Facebook page, also on Monday. These events provide affected employees information on available services, consulting and workshops to find new employment.  


"We are very sorry to hear about the impacts of those individuals coming into the holiday season, as well as the fact that Ebonite was an industry that was in place for so many years and was an economic provider to so many families,” Clark said. “We do know with the job market that there will be other jobs available. But whether they’ll be the same skills that would be needed or the wages would be similar, we’ll have to look at that in more detail.”


"Liam Niemeyer is a reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource covering agriculture and infrastructure in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and also serves Assistant News Director at WKMS. He has reported for public radio stations across the country from Appalachia to Alaska, most recently as a reporter for WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. He is a recent alumnus of Ohio University and enjoys playing tenor saxophone in various jazz groups."
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