One of Long Prairie's largest employers, the printing company LSC Communications, is closing.

The company plans to permanently close the plant at 100 Banta Road in early April, leaving 236 workers without a job, according to a notice filed with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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The company cited "changing market conditions" as the reason for the shutdown.

Positions affected by the closure include press operators, technicians, mechanics, maintenance workers and several managerial positions. The layoffs will begin in March.

In the notice of the closing, Rebecca Robertson, vice president of human resources for LSC Communications, said the company is "committed to making the transition as smooth as possible for our employees, our customers and the community."

LSC Communications is a Chicago-based spinoff of the Fortune 500 company RR Donnelly and Sons.

Out of the 236 employees affected, 198 were union workers who had been working without a ratified contract. Negotiations were expected to take place this past November and December but were cancelled.

Union employees will receive a severance package aligned with their years of employment. They'll receive one week's pay for every year of employment, up to a maximum of 26 years. A minimum of two weeks pay will be given to those who have worked for the company less than two years.

Non-union workers will receive whatever severance package the company provides.

For decades, the plant has been a mainstay in Long Prairie, which has a population of about 3,300. The heart of the business started with Hart Press on Central Avenue.

Hart Printing started in 1919 when the Hart Store began printing an advertising pamphlet for its store. Other businesses in town liked what the store was doing and also ordered pamphlets.

The pamphlets were printed at the Long Prairie Leader newspaper for some time, but the printing part of the Hart business grew so large that another site was needed. Hart Press then began in 1923 at the Central Avenue location.

At the peak of its production, the printing plant employed nearly 700 workers.

The printing business would have been 99 years old this year.

Some information in this story was provided by the Long Prairie Leader.