06/08/12 When the Stone Creek Homes plant in Plymouth closed without warning at the end of May, there were lots of questions and not many answers. All of employees were called together mid-morning, told to gather their personal belongings, and leave the premises.

Among other questions was what would happen to the units that were sitting outside of the buildings ready to be shipped. The plant was manufacturing four-unit studio apartment type housing, complete with individual bathrooms, kitchens and sleeping areas and a shared laundry room. The units had been being shipped to several states where those working on oil and gas pipelines needed housing.

   On Wednesday of this week, passerbys observed the “man camps” being hitched to a large farm-tractor.  Also at the plant was a low-boy semi trailer a couple of pick-up trucks, a tow-truck with a forklift on it and several individuals. Reportedly, the units were seized by 1St Source Bank; however, where they will be stored or how they will be sold remains a mystery.

Stone Creek Homes, under co-ownership of Dave Ferguson, had taken over the former Shamrock Homes facility in august, 2011. They started with nine employees and ended with 41.  Ferguson is still not returning calls or emails and his cell phone number has been disconnected. Reportedly, all the personal items belonging to Ferguson are out of the home he was living in at Pretty Lake and personal items in his office at Stone Creek were also cleared out.

   Ferguson’s partner, Al Donahue, closed their housing manufacturing plant in Central City, Nebraska at the same time and with no explanation other than the company was out of money.

Employees in both locations feared they were not only losing their jobs, but also back pay for two weeks. Locally, hourly employees did receive one week’s pay and it’s unclear as to whether they have received all the back pay they had earned.

    Ferguson had recently signed lease papers for a building in Etna Green. According to Kosciusko County Economic Development Director George Robertson, Stone Creek was in line for a state incentive package that would have meant a reimbursement for in-state job creation. Robertson learned of the closing by phone from local Plymouth media. He said, “I have not been contacted by anyone from Stone Creek.”

Carol Anders Correspondent