by Max Brantley
Whirlpool, which once employed as many as 4,600 in Fort Smith (now about 1,100), may be heading to zero as it evaluates continued production of side-by-side refrigerators. City Wire is all over the story and the news is dire.
Two sources told The City Wire on Monday (Aug. 22) that two companies — possibly divisions within Whirlpool Corp. — have been or will soon be at the Fort Smith plant to bid on the equipment used to produce trash compactors and built-in refrigerators (BIR). The sources independently verified the move is a clear indication the lines are leaving the Fort Smith plant, leaving only side-by-side refrigerator production at the large manufacturing facility.
“Because we’d only be producing them (side-by-side refrigerators), we were told that those (side-by-side) units were in decline and that, and this is exactly what was written, ‘plant closure was certain,’” a source told The City Wire.
In Whirlpool corporate-speak, it is studying options.