20 years ago today the lives of more than a thousand people changed dramatically. On June 26th 1992, the Eau Claire Uniroyal-Goodrich plant shut down.
The closing of the plant is considered one of the biggest events in Eau Claire's history---that day around 1300 people lost their jobs.
Today... The building is home to more than 100 business and nearly a thousand new employees but for many community member’s Uniroyal is still fresh in their minds.
Jean Running worked at Uniroyal most of her adult life....starting at the age of18 she worked at the tire plant for 28 years.
Jean Running "I never minded going to work you see everybody at work and we goofed around and we made the job fun," says Running
This made news of the plant closing that much harder.
"I couldn't believe it I cried and I cried it was like your whole world fell apart i still get sentimental once and awhile,” says Running
Jean was working the night shift at the time of the announcement and remembers that shift vividly.
"It's all anyone could talk about we didn't get much work done and the managers didn't do much,” says Running
At the time Uniroyal was the Eau Claire's largest employer and a big part of the city’s economy.
Eau Claire economic developer Mike Schatz says no one really new how big of an impact the closure would have and that was scary.
“We were pleasantly surprised that it didn't devastate the community's economy now for individuals it was terrible," says Schatz
“It just changed a lot of lives there were some divorces suicides it was devastating,” says Running
The city worked hard to minimize the devastation... bringing in new jobs and training employees in new trades.
"We ended up getting more manufacturing in town and the economy actually got better overall."
But for Jean the memory of what was will never be gone.
I drive by it a lot .....a lot of memories,” says Running