BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Bardstown plant is closing its doors.

According to a news release, Cleveland-based American Greetings Corporation, a manufacturer of greetings cards, will close its Bardstown facility by the end of February 2019. The company says the closure is the result of "an evaluation of the company's future production needs."

The facility opened in 1984 and currently has a workforce of 446 employees, according to the news release.

The company added that, as part of the closure plan, "available space and capacity within the American Greetings network will be utilized."

“I cried," said one American Greetings employee who preferred to remain anonymous. "I had been with them for 32 years. It’s very devastating. I don’t know what I am going to do at this point because it happened so quickly.”

The Nelson County Economic Development Agency is working with employees and has discussed the possibility of a job fair to help displaced workers. The mayor of Bardstown believes, in the end, the plant closure could actually help the city grow.

“Long term, and I am talking about a year or two years from now, it’s really a silver lining for us,” Mayor Dick Heaton said. “We have a number of expansions and new manufacturer facilities in the works that we feel like many of these employees will be able to find employment fairly easily.”

The town has an unemployment rate of 3.1 percent, below the national average.

Next month, Japanese package manufacture Takigawa Corporation will break ground on a new Bardstown facility that will eventually hire more than 180 people. Three local distilleries will also be hiring more workers during expansions.

There's no word on if specific companies have been eyeing the 500,000 sq. ft. facility.

American Greetings produces various brands of greeting cards including Carlton Cards, Gibson, Recycled Paper Greetings and Papyrus.

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