Crane Cams shuts down, workers laid off
By JIM WITTERS
Senior Business Writer
DAYTONA BEACH — Crane Cams, a 56-year-old auto parts manufacturer, closed its doors this week and laid off its employees, a worker said today.
The news took Volusia County’s top economic development officer by surprise. City, county and state officials were working with Crane Cams and officials from its New Jersey parent, Mikronite Technologies, to keep the company open and in the community.
“We were trying to help them through this transition,” said Rick Michael, Volusia County economic development director. “They were considering a transfer of ownership. We were not expecting any closure.”
An automated voice mail system at Crane’s plant on Fentress Boulevard announced at midday today the company was closed and suggested calling back during business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A call to Mikronite’s New Jersey offices produced similar results. Six cars sat in the parking lot early this afternoon at the local plant, which employed 220 just three years ago.
Inside the lobby, a reception desk sat empty. A call from the lobby phone got an answer from Dennis Burgess, who declined to comment and said no one at the plant could provide information.
In the parking lot, 14-year employee Ronald Dorn was leaving the plant for what he believed was the last time
He said workers were told during the past week that layoffs were likely, but he didn’t expect the plant to close.
Mikronite received approval in 2006 to receive tax rebates from the state and the county amid discussion about moving its New Jersey operations here. But the company ended its contract with the state in 2008 due to nonperformance, Michael said.
“Crane has gone through a series of small layoffs recently,” he said.
Crane Cams and Crane Technologies Group were founded by Harvey J. Crane Jr. in 1953 as Crane Engineering Inc. in Hallandale. The company is well known in high-performance and racing circles for its line of camshafts and engine valve train components.
In 1979, Crane Cams became an employee-owned company. Some operations moved to Daytona Beach in 1981, with the remainder of the operation and employees relocating here in 1985.
Mikronite, an industrial technology firm, bought Crane in 2006.
In March 2007, Mikronite sold its property on Fentress to STAG Capital Partners of Boston, then signed a 10-year lease.
That's so crazy. Not even the biggest aftermarket companies are safe...