HARRISONBURG — Jay Veenis, the plant manager at Graham Packaging in Harrisonburg for five years, knew there was potential when the employees of the plant received a notice in June that the plant would be closing.

“Well, if they’re going to close it, I may as well bid on it,” Veenis said.

So he did.

Artisan Packaging, owned by Veenis and silent investors, bid on the plant, along with a number of other companies looking to acquire the factory.

“I guess I outbid them,” he said.

The target date for closing the deal is Aug. 30. If the deal is successful, the Graham Packaging plant will become Artisan Packaging on Sept. 1.

The plant was slated to close and lay off all 115 employees on Sept. 4.

The deal includes all the assets of the Harrisonburg plant, including the property and equipment.

Veenis also plans to continue operations with all the employees.

“We’ve got the best employees I’ve ever worked with here,” Veenis said.

Veenis declined to disclose the price tag of the purchase, as the process is still ongoing.

“Graham’s a good company to work with,” Veenis said. “They want us to be successful and they’re working hard to make this deal a success.”

Graham Packaging did not respond to inquiries from the Daily News-Record before press time.

Veenis, a Massanutten resident, has over 25 years of experience in the packaging industry, including at companies CCL Industries and Interpack. He has lived in the Shenandoah Valley for 38 years, is married and has two adult children.

The plant’s customers include blue-chip companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal and Cao.

Contact Ian Munro at 574-6278 or imunro@dnronline.com. Follow Ian on Twitter @IanMunroDNR

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