Tama Paperboard set to close June 2

Move announced by parent company Graphic Packaging International

NEWS CHRONICLE PHOTOS BY JONATHAN MEYER — Tama Paperboard, pictured, will officially close in June after over 100 years in business.

TAMA — One of the oldest and most well-known businesses in Tama will be permanently closing its doors in June.

After speculation had run rampant for months, it was officially announced that Tama Paperboard will shut down June 2, affecting 85 employees according to Iowa Workforce Development’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) system.

The mill, which is currently owned by Graphic Packaging International, has been in operation for over a century and specializes in manufacturing recycled paperboard for consumer products and the food and beverage industries.

During a recent earnings call with investors, GPI President/CEO Michael Doss discussed the closure and called Tama one of the company’s “higher cost mills.”

“Due to the better than expected production from K2 (technology), we have decided to close our CRP mill in Tama, Iowa, during the second quarter, earlier than we had previously anticipated,” he said. “Among our recycled paperboard mills, Tama has the smallest capacity and the highest cash production cost per ton. This closure advances our strategy to simplify our paperboard network while strategically expanding capacity and lowering cost.”

A close-up of the water tower at Tama Paperboard, which will be closing its doors on June 2.

Mayor Doug Ray, a retired employee of the mill himself who spent 46 years with Tama Paperboard, issued a statement on behalf of the city.

“The unexpected news of the closure of the Tama Paper Mill is disappointing news to our community. At this time, the city of Tama will not make any comments until we see what the full impact to the employees and the community will be,” he said.

Ray did inform the News Chronicle that a meeting with company executives is scheduled for May 22, and he plans to say more afterward.

Bryan Valline, a 29-year paper mill employee who serves as the president of United Steelworkers Local 743, told KCRG-TV the experience has been difficult for the workers.

“I would rather have six months to prepare for this rather than 60 days because these guys have invested over half of their lives here,” he told the station. “There’s, there’s got to be some emotional, a lot of emotions going through their heads.”

Another cause for concern as a result of the closure is the future of Cherry Lake, which is situated near the mill and now serves as a recreation area and park. The water source to supply the lake was a well on the mill’s property that the mill paid to operate and maintain.


Contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or



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