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Johnsonville to close Sheboygan County plant, affecting nearly 400 workers

The closure comes after the acquisition of Salm Partners

brats on a grill
Michael Newman (CC BY-NC-ND)

Wisconsin-based sausage manufacturer Johnsonville announced Wednesday it will close its Meadowside plant in Sheboygan County. The closure comes after the company acquired co-manufacturer Salm Partners.

The Sheboygan County plant employees 390 workers and will close by the end of the year. Johnsonville’s Countryside and Riverside manufacturing facilities will remain operational.

In a press release, Johnsonville said the acquisition will help expand its ready-to-eat sausage business.

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Job security for current employees remains uncertain

Johnsonville plans to transition some of its ready-to-eat sausage production to Salm throughout 2024, causing “workforce adjustments,” according to a press release. People currently employed at Meadowside will have a position through at least the end of June and receive a stay-on bonus.

Johnsonville also said it will try to retain as many employees as possible in its Sheboygan Falls production positions — and across its other production facilities — when Meadowside production ends.

“While this acquisition is key to the long-term success of our (ready-to-eat) sausage business — and the larger fully cooked sausage category in general — it’s not lost on us how a plant closing is distressing for our Members to hear,” Johnsonville CEO Don Fussner said in a press release.

Fussner was not available for further comment by the time of publication.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has not received any federal or state required layoff notices for Johnsonville.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Chicago-based company sold Salm Partners to Johnsonville

Salm Partners, co-manufacturer of fully cooked sausage and hot dogs, was previously owned by Chicago-based Entrepreneurial Equity Partners. It’s headquartered in Denmark, Wisconsin, where it operates two production facilities.

The company did not respond to requests for comment outside of a press release.

“It has been truly rewarding to partner with co-founder and board member Chris Salm, CEO Keith Lindsey, and the broader Salm team,” managing partner CJ Fraleigh said in a press release from Entrepreneurial Equity Partners.

According to release, under Entrepreneurial Equity Partners ownership, Salm nearly doubled its manufacturing capacity.

Keith Lindsey, President and CEO of Salm Partners, said he’s looking forward to working with Johnsonville.

“The whole Salm team is excited to join Johnsonville, which we view as a world-class manufacturing and marketing organization. Above all, we look forward to continuing to deliver high-quality innovation, food safety, and service to our customers,” Lindsey said in a statement.