Gerber Scientific to close Coburn lens processing plant

September 15, 2004

South Windsor, CT-Gerber Scientific will close its Gerber Coburn manufacturing plant in Muskogee, OK, and move most of its operations to Connecticut by April 2005.

South Windsor, CT-Gerber Scientific will close its Gerber Coburn manufacturing plant in Muskogee, OK, and move most of its operations to Connecticut by April 2005.

The plant, which has about 130 employees, produces computer-integrated ophthalmic lens processing technology and accessories. In October 2002, it was the city's 13th largest employer with 250 employees, before the company retooled its processes in 2003 to adopt lean management principles.

Gerber Optical acquired the location when it merged with Coburn Optical Industries in 1998, becoming Gerber Coburn. Because Coburn had been part of the community since 1951, the company concentrated its manufacturing processes there. However, Gerber Scientific says closing the plant will save up to $1.3 million this year and about $3 million a year subsequently. It also will help improve customer service by leveraging shared services, the company said.

The company will pay severance and other benefits to employees affected by the move, and help them find new jobs. A few will relocate to the company's Connecticut headquarters.