ROXBURY — News that furniture-maker Ethan Allen will permanently close its Andover sawmill and dimension mill operation by late August and end the jobs of 60 workers was tough to bear for Julie Webber.
She has many friends and relatives working in the mill.
Webber was laid off at the plant in March and recently hired as a store clerk at the nearby Ellis Pond Variety in Roxbury. She said Thursday that she will be doubly affected by the closure.
“It’s terrible,” Webber said. “It will impact us for sure because we deliver breakfast to them every morning.”
The store made and delivered breakfast to the plant every Monday through Thursday when the mill was operational, Webber said. “We would deliver breakfasts, pizza for lunch orders, chocolate milk, hard candy, gum, cigarettes, and soda; the whole 9 yards.”
The company always provided breakfast for its employees, she said.
“It will be pretty devastating for the area,” she said. “There are a lot of people in the mill who have worked there 20, 30, and 40 years, and a lot of them are couples, so their incomes will be seriously affected.”
Loggers will also feel the pinch, she said, because they provide most of the mill’s wood.
Webber said she saw the mill closure coming at some point in the near future.
She said there had been a lack of steady work at the Andover mill right up until she was let go after working three years as a systems operator on the Grecon Line dimension-milling machinery.
“We had only been working every other week before March when I was let go and before that, it was two weeks on, two weeks off,” Webber said.
Reading from a notice to the store, she said the plant’s last day would be Aug. 28.
“But for the month of July, they’ve only scheduled three work days and they say, ‘Hopefully, three to four weeks in August,'” Webber said.
Ethan Allen had applied for a grant to help its soon-to-be-displaced workers get educational training for new jobs, she said.
“As a company, Ethan Allen has really tried to do what it can for its workers, but I understand they have to cut their losses,” Webber said.
Irving Lumber had contacted Andover mill officials on Thursday to offer help, she said, adding that the Canadian lumber company expressed sympathy to the mill and offered possible employment at Irving’s Dixfield sawmill.
“They said they were looking for experienced workers,” Webber said. “That was very nice of them.”
A call Thursday to Irving spokeswoman Mary Keith in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, to confirm the information was not immediately returned.

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