Created: 10/10/2013 6:35 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4
The news that the Sunland peanut plant in Portales is shutting down hit the small town hard. The plant filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, months after a salmonella outbreak at the plant.
Sunland peanuts said they just couldn’t hang on anymore.
“Probably the worst thing in my life," said CEO Jimmie Shearer.
Shearer is devastated. He said after the salmonella outbreak last year, the company couldn’t recover.
“The last year has been hell. Ever since we had the situation, its' just been one thing after another,” said Shearer.
Sunland is the largest industry in Portales and the economic impact is huge.
“It will ripple down and affect every individual in our community," said Portales Mayor Sharon King.
It will especially affect the nearly 100 workers without a job. Employees said they were blindsided.
“It surprised everybody, everybody broke down. We don't know what we're going to do. It was a big company, it hit us hard," said Sunland employee Rita Ake.
The mayor said no one saw this coming.
“We thought we were out of the woods with the FDA and everything, but I’m proud that they were able to hang on as long as they did," said King.
"I feel extremely bad about how its’ ended up. And it’s very unfortunate that we have to end this way,” said Shearer.
According to the bankruptcy filing, the company is more than 51 million dollars in debt. The company is only worth about 49 million.