Dairy processing plant closes its doors, under investigation

Local

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A dairy processing plant in Franklin County has closed its doors, leaving more than 100 people without jobs.

Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg is a community staple and in business for 18 years.

“Their sandwiches are amazing. I love their ice cream,” customer Michelle Fransen said. “I sat here one day and I sampled four or five different flavors because I was having such a hard time deciding.”

Soon, customers won’t be able to get their favorite milk, cheese, and ice cream because the processing plant closed Sept. 27.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry was in town Monday to help 106 employees effected.

“Our rapid response team came in and set up some informational meetings to talk to the employees who were losing their jobs,” said Eileen Cipriani, the deputy secretary for workforce development.

Currently, 53 people have come in for help getting either retrained or moving on to a similar job.

“We would advise anybody that was affected by this and hasn’t been able to come to one of the events so far to please come to the CareerLink because we can provide them with services and training that they need right there,” Cipriani said.

The closing comes amid an investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities. The four owners are facing 370 counts of violating the Securities Act of 1972.

In court documents, the state alleges that the creamery misled more than 100 investors and misappropriated nearly $9 million between February 2015 and October 2017.

An administrative hearing was held in July, but there has been no judgment.

“My heart goes out to all the people that have worked so hard for the company, to build it and grow it, and then to have the rug pulled out from under everybody’s feet,” Fransen said.

The Department of Agriculture released a statement saying:

“Statewide dairy production and associated businesses contribute more than $6 billion annually to Pennsylvania’s economy. Those businesses create more than 58,000 jobs and spend about 85 percent of their income locally. Franklin County has 427 farms with more than 51,000 cows. The industry has a $1.2 million impact in the county and supports 5,128 jobs.

The Department of Agriculture received a notice in early July that Trickling Springs would close in 90 days. As of Sept. 27, all 20 affected farms had found new markets for their milk.

An auditor from the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board, an independent state board, will determine whether any claims will be paid out of the bond funds required to be paid by the company as part of the Milk Producer Security Act.

No one from Trickling Springs Creamery could be reached for comment.

The retail store will close Saturday.

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