Bose in Columbia to close in September

Electronics manufacturer Bose Corp. will close its Columbia operations this fall and eliminate all 300 positions at the plant, the company said Thursday.

The closing is part of an effort by the Massachusetts-based company to streamline its global supply chain, which also will include closing Bose’s plant in Carrickmacross, Ireland, the company said.

Operations at the South Carolina plant, located in Blythewood, will cease in September while operations at the Ireland facility will end in April. In the meantime, work will slowly wind down in both facilities, the company said, and be shifted to other Bose plants around the world where the same type of work currently is done.

Opened in 1996, the Columbia plant employs 300 workers in distribution and repair, sub-manufacturing and regional re-manufacturing, along with final assembly for some headsets. No final decision has yet been made on where the distribution and repair piece of the Blythewood operation will be relocated, but other of its operations will go to Arizona and Mexico, Bose said.

Employees have been notified, and the company said it would make outplacement services and serverance pay available to affected employees.

The Carrickmacross facility opened in Ireland in 1978 and employs about 140 workers, Bose said. They do final assembly for select home theater systems and Wave radios for the European market, along with some regional manufacturing. Those operations will move to Mexico and Malaysia when the Bose Ireland plant closes in April.

“Our rapid global growth requires us to keep pace with our customers, dealers, distributors, re-sellers and stores, and serve them as efficiently as possible,” said Bryan Fontaine, Bose executive vice president of global operations and corporate development engineering, in a released statement.

“But these are still difficult decisions because they impact our very capable teams in South Carolina and Ireland.”

The Bose Blythewood plant peaked at 950 workers in 2003, but has bled workers over time almost ever since, including in 2003 when it cut 250 workers. Then in 2004, the company shed another 160 workers, followed by 149 more job cuts in 2009, and 200 additional workers in 2012.

Bose Corporation built a manufacturing plant in Malaysia in 2013 to serve its Asia-Pacific business customers.

“We thank all of them for their dedication, and we thank the communities of Columbia and Carrickmacross for their years of support,” Fontaine’s statement said.