Caught in an industry-wide downturn, due to soaring gasoline prices, higher interest rates, and extreme weather conditions during the past year, Dixie Chopper recently announced a workforce hour reduction.
Beginning Aug. 7, all Dixie Chopper hourly employees were reduced to 32 hours per week as the Greencastle and Fillmore plants will shut down for inventory purposes during the week of Aug. 28-Sept. 5.
The company said it had increased revenues 30-40 percent while boosting its local workforce from 50 to more than 200.
However, $3-a-gallon gasoline prices and unusual weather factors affecting the area changed the company's perspective this year.
"We're sitting on the beach right now," Dixie Chopper General Manager Jeff Haltom said. "It's time to turn around, paddle and ride that wave again."
Haltom said the company will "get back to basics," by taking on a leaner approach to production for 2007.
Officials said Dixie Chopper's commercial mower sales were up 10 percent this year, but consumer mower sales, which fueled much of the company growth through the lower-end Silver Eagle models, were down in 2006, affected by higher interest rates and rising gasoline prices.
"The thing is, we built to expectations the last four years and fell short of filling all our orders," Haltom said. "We built to expectations this year and have mowers still in our inventory."