Baker Oil Tools to close its Yorktown shop in mid-January
BY ALLISON MILES - AMILES@VICAD.COM
Nov. 12, 2009 at 5:12 a.m.
Updated Nov. 13, 2009 at 5:13 a.m.
YORKTOWN - Baker Oil Tools will close its doors in mid-January.
The oil field equipment and services company made the announcement earlier this week, Yorktown Mayor Renee Hernandez said.
"It's devastating to see this type of closure," he said. "Baker Hughes is the only industry we have here, basically, other than local small businesses."
Baker Oil Tools employed about 150 people at one point, Hernandez said, but has recently undergone several rounds of layoffs.
The current employee count is about 70 people, a large percentage for a city with a population of about 2,100 people, he said.
The company began as Elder Oil Tools in 1979, but changed its name in the mid- to late-80s, said Carlyle Stakes, who worked there for about 20 years before retiring.
Originally, the building was a leather drying plant, he said.
"It's sad to me," Stakes said of the closure. "It's been open for 30 years. It was a great, thriving facility for the community of Yorktown. And it employed a lot of great people."
Baker Hughes could not be reached for comment.
Representatives from the Yorktown office declined comment and referred calls to the corporate office in Houston.
Calls to the Houston office went to voicemail and were unreturned.
The closing comes at an especially difficult time, Hernandez said, explaining the economic downturn means many are already out of work nationwide. And it's impossible for people to know when things will turn around.
Baker Oil Tools' news is difficult for the community, but Yorktown can still recover, said Melissa Armstrong, executive director of the Yorktown Economic Development Corporation and the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce.
"The Yorktown Economic Development Corporation continues to actively seek employers and businesses to locate or relocate to the community on a continual basis," she said. "The closing, after having it there for some many years, obviously is going to have an economic impact on a city the size of Yorktown."
Hernandez, who works in a Victoria machine shop, said he feels for those affected by the close.
"It's a big blow," Hernandez said. "It's a big blow to people who have moved here to provide for their families."