The Cities Main Street Feels the Pinch

Communities learn to live with plant closings

Not long ago the bustling factory floor at the Black & Decker plant in Brockport, N.Y. (pop. 9,000), was the busiest spot in town. As many as 1,300 people worked there, making electric can openers and carving knives. Now a ghostly silence has fallen over the once humming machines. Black & Decker shifted much of the plant's production to other countries and suddenly closed the factory last Christmas. In one swift blow, Brockport lost its largest employer. About $4 million in severance pay has so far softened the impact on the community, but the money is fast running out. Says former...