Gustafson's Dairy Farm shuts down

Dozens expected to lose jobs

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – After more than century in business, Channel 4 learned Tuesday night that Gustafson's Dairy Farm is shutting down it's plant in Green Cove Springs. That means dozens of jobs will be ended.

A representative from the company told a town leader the plant is closing because there's been a change in it's customer base.

It's a shock to many who have close ties to the dairy farm.

"It's hard to see something like that go because they've been here for so long," said Randy Cox, Green Cove Springs resident.

It's a familiar staple Cox doesn't want to see shut down. He grew up near Gustafson's Dairy Farm in Clay County and the company's ties to his family run deep.

"I worked there, my mother worked there," Cox said.

It was one of Cox's first jobs. He said working on the assembly line there taught him how to multi-task.

"It's a loss. It's a loss because it's jobs," Cox said.

Reportedly 36 people will lose their jobs there in about two weeks. In a small town like Green Cove Springs neighbors say the impact is serious.

"There's not a lot of industry here," said Krista Miller. "That was one of our last plants. I loved Gustafson's dairy. I still look for Gustafson's dairy. It's my favorite."

Channel 4 met a fourth generation Gustafson in town Tuesday night. Edwin Sherwood Gustafson IV says competition from a growing dairy market is forcing the company to close the plant. He hopes the family can use the land to start a new enterprise.

"I'd like to get crops started back up, honestly, and go back there and manage that," Gustafson said. "Start stocking up on some angus beef, might be able to do something with that.

Channel 4 was told the CEO of the company, Paul Bikowitz, has been with the company for about three and a half years. A call was made to reach him for comment at the corporate headquarters Gainesville, but the call was not returned.