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Historic Marcal mill in New Jersey, USA, devastated by fire; efforts underway to help 500 displaced employees

A devastating fire that engulfed the famous Marcal tissue mill in New Jersey on 30 January has destroyed most of the historic building.

No injuries were reported at the Elmwood Park-based plant, and the manufacturer of the Marcal tissue products – Soundview Paper Company – has launched an employment opportunities website and job fair for the site’s 500 displaced employees.

TWM visited the Marcal mill for its north-eastern USA Regional Report in May/June 2016.

The site’s large, lit-up red “Marcal” sign which was displayed above the mill was established by founder Nicholas Marcalus in 1932.

The company was planning for future investments and growth to further boost the site’s paper-making capacity and famous brand.

Soundview president and chief executive Rob Baron said: “The fire resulted in catastrophic damage to our facility.

“We don’t yet know what the future will be for Marcal; we do know that our operations in New Jersey have been devastated, resulting in the loss of employment for many of our dedicated colleagues, some of whom have given decades of service to our company.”

Efforts are now underway to help the employees: “The dedicated colleagues who lost their jobs due to the fire at our mill remain our top priority.”

The company has been engaged around the clock with the Governor’s office, the New Jersey Department of Labour, the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Congressman William Pascrell, local officials and neighbouring non-profits to identify and secure support for its people.

A job fair was held on 8 February and it has also launched a new website page for its people to learn of hundreds of job opportunities at local businesses, as well as at companies owned by its parent company Atlas Holdings around the country.

Baron added: “Select aspects of the Soundview Paper Company/Marcal business will continue, primarily the company’s Putney, Vermont operation and shipping of existing inventory to customers from Elmwood Park.

“We are increasing operations at our Vermont location, allowing us to support the iconic Marcal brand in the AfH and Home and Office markets and we are hard at work on plans to continue to bring the Marcal-branded bath tissue, paper towel and napkin products to your grocer’s shelf.

“Over the last five days, we have witnessed overwhelming support for Marcal and its people from our friends in the local community, throughout the State of New Jersey and beyond.

“We have been reminded what the Marcal sign has meant to so many; that this company was not only a trusted employer and an iconic business, but a symbol of New Jersey’s historic manufacturing legacy.

“We are appreciative for the outpouring of love and support which sustain all of us through this very difficult time.”

The 1930s-era mill was acquired by Atlas Holdings in 2012 and the company then established Soundview Paper to manufacture recycled and virgin fibre towel and tissue products for the local AfH, private label and At-Home markets.

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