CoverMaster Inc., a truck cap supplier that once employed 100 people in Elkhart, Ind., is closing its doors.
Company President James Fletcher confirmed last week to the South Bend Tribune that the company has ceased operations. Fletcher blamed gas prices as the reason.
“With gas so high, people cannot afford to buy anything but gas (for their trucks),” he said. “It’s a good viable product and there are just no pickup sales.
“We were one of the smaller (companies that make the covers), and we just couldn’t ride out the downturn in business.”
The company, which had as many as 100 employees two years ago, started this year with more than 40, he said. It currently employed about 16 people, he said.
One of them, Linda Cole, of Mishawaka, had been off work since last Monday, when she and others were sent home and told to come back today to get their final paychecks.
At first, she thought the meeting was to announce another layoff that was coming. But the signs had been there for a while, she indicated, including significantly smaller paychecks and people being told they could not go on vacation and be paid.
“We knew that they couldn’t keep going like that,” she said. “I kind of felt sorry (for the owners). They weren’t making any money. They were a good company. They had really good people to work for.”
Fletcher himself had been with the company for 13 years.
“It’s been a slow process of sales continuing to slide,” he said. “It’s unfortunate.”