Kanawha Electric & Machine Co. Closing its Doors for Good
A maintenance and repair shop known for fixing and maintaining mining equipment, Kanawha Electric & Machine Co., has announced that it is winding down after 80 years in the industry. Kanawha is shutting down its repair facility in Charleston, West Virginia.
Following its closure, all 14 employees currently working at the facility will be out of work. Back in 2012, Kanawha employed about 49 employees.
The company provides repair services for equipment including motors, pumps, generators, and similar items to its clients across the country.
The company cites troubles in the mining and manufacturing industries as the primary reason behind its decision to shut down. Kanawha’s major clients came from these two industries, and—with the ongoing slump in mining and manufacturing—many companies in those sectors have gone out of business.
According to the owner of the company, Tom Sheppard, many of Kanawha’s biggest longtime clients have gone bankrupt, including Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. and Patriot Coal Corporation.
Most of the companies that Kanawha was serving were in the coal mining business. But, with the country shifting toward green energy, the coal industry is facing a decline. This has significantly hurt coal miners, pushing many to file for bankruptcy. In response to this trend, Kanawha tried to diversify its business by seeking out clients in various other markets. However, the coal industry continued to make up roughly 30% of its client base.
Without demand for its repair work, the company, which first opened its doors in 1937, now feels forced to wrap up its operations. The company is now in the process of finishing its final repair work before it permanently closes its doors.
Sheppard has said that a few parties have shown interest in buying the company’s facility and its assets, however no formal agreement has been reached.
“Kanawha Electric & Machine Co. closing after 80 years,” Charleston Gazette-Mail, July 27, 2017.