NEWPORT, Tenn. — UPDATE (October 21, 2021): The Conagra plant in Newport announced it is finally closing on Friday after a surge in consumer demand allowed it to remain open well after its original January 2021 projected closure.
Conagra is the community’s largest employer, having provided close to 350 jobs in the community. It initially planned to close the Cocke County facility at the start of 2021, but those plans were put on hold due to a surge in demand during the pandemic.
The plant's production area will close Friday, but the warehouse will remain open a little longer. Officials said 215 in production will be impacted on Friday. The company said it will likely close the warehouse in early spring 2022.
Cocke County business leaders were thankful for the delay.
"That's given us more time to work with Conagra Corporate and hopefully come up with a common-ground solution that will keep them here longer or working with new recruits that will take over that facility if they leave. Either way, this extended time period is going to be a good thing for us," Lucas Graham, Cocke Co. Partnership President, said.
Production from the Newport facility will transition to other plants within the Conagra network.