Community fights to save Miken Sports | KAALTV.com

Community fights to save Miken Sports

Devin Martin
Updated: July 28, 2021 10:09 PM
Created: July 28, 2021 09:09 PM

(ABC 6 News) - There is a crisis developing in a local small town. 

The town's major employer is announcing it's closing down, sending around 80 jobs to China. It's in Caledonia, Minnesota, in the southeastern corner of the state and the company is Miken Sports. It makes equipment for Major League Baseball. 

On Thursday, U.S. Senator Tina Smith is getting directly involved, trying to save the plant and the jobs. 

ABC 6 NEWS spoke to those affected by this and those trying to stop it. 

"I think it's horrible we've got a lot of people that live in town," Tim Gunn, a Caledonia resident said. 

People in Caledonia are upset. They don't want to see people in their community without a job. 

"I can only say, I hope the politicians fight hard and that they understand that the fight is to save the jobs for the people of small-town America," Gunn said. 

Politicians are stepping in to make sure this key employer stays in town. 

Caledonia City Administrator Adam Swann said earlier this month someone who works at the plant told the city, the plant is closing in 18 to 24 months. 

The city got confirmation from other employees that this plant is closing and now the city is working with politicians like Minnesota Senator Tina Smith and House Representative Greg Davids of Preston to try to figure out a way to make this plant stay. 

"We understand it's a major concern. We understand this is going to have a big impact not only on the employees who are there but the members of the community. So we're doing everything we can to change their mind," Swann said. 

Minnesota Senator Tim Smith wrote a letter urging Major League Baseball to reverse their decision to close the plant. 

"I think it's outrageous that major-league baseball and this private equity firm are moving this business out of Caledonia and are shipping jobs to China," Senator Smith said. 

Representative Jim Hagedorn responded on Twitter saying, "I am incredibly disappointed that Miken Sports intends to shut down most operations at its Caledonia plant and move jobs to China. Miken has been a part of Caledonia's community for over 20 years. This decision will result in significant job and wealth losses in southeast MN." 

House Representative Greg Davids of Preston agrees too. The plant needs to be saved. 

"Just the thought of major league baseball outsourcing jobs to communist China, I just really have a problem with that and I think we need to stand up. Normally I don't get called into a private business and their doings but what they're doing is so wrong and they need to reverse their direction on this issue," Representative Davids said. 

And for the people in town, they're glad people are sticking up to have this employer in town. 

"I don't know what effect they have in their fight but I'm glad someone is doing something," Gunn said. 

Mike Thompson with Rawling Sporting Goods told ABC 6 NEWS that this is a tough decision and he understands but says the company is open to negotiations. 

But he would not say what could happen to make them stay and save those jobs. 

He says back in 2020 Rawling Sporting Goods acquired Easton Diamond Sports and with the acquisition, Easton Diamond Sports has an 18 year deal with a manufacturer in China that makes non-wooden and metal bats. 

He says it's a larger scale manufacturer and the decision was made to streamline the supply chain so everything could be made in China. The helmets made at Miken Sports Plant will be now moved to a production plant in Washington, Missouri, where the helmets are finished. 

Thompson says the sales, marketing, and customer service team for Miken Sports will remain in Caledonia. 

Overall, time will tell to see what the next steps are. 


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