While we still don't know everything that's going on at Hydroswing in Cottonwood, it, for now, has the makings of an unhappy ending.
Different people will tell you different things about where the company stands. Some will say it's closed down for good and that everyone has lost their job. The Independent hasn't gone that far; we've reported on what we've been told by Hydroswing headquarters in the United Kingdom - that it's going through a reorganization phase. The last time we were able to reach someone from Hydroswing - which manufactures hydraulic-powered overhead doors?- we were told a statement would be issued sometime this week. We have yet to hear from them.
It hasn't been easy contacting Hydroswing in the UK, both for the Independent, as well as for private contractors and vendors from around the United States who want to know what exactly is going on.
Since the Independent's initial story about Hydroswing hit newsstands and cyberspace a couple weeks ago, we've received a handful of calls from companies around the country that have either begun litigation or are about to. They've all lost money, or so they are left to assume, and are all rightfully upset at the prospect of not getting their deposits back or not receiving the product(s) they've ordered and have coming to them.
And they all have questions that deserve answers.
Two-plus years ago, the news was all good. Hydroswing had a new owner and a new business outlook. Production was increasing and then-owner Marshal Parker reaffirmed the company's commitment to Cottonwood. So if the Cottonwood plant does, indeed, shut down, it would be a shame for the city and the area, as potentially more than a dozen area residents would be out of a job. Even if it doesn't, we're concerned about the company's future prospects here. Word of mouth works both ways and if Hydroswing does come out of this, it won't be unscathed.
This has the potential of being a public relations nightmare for the company, which is already facing legal action from various businesses. Will construction companies and current clients now trying to work with Hydroswing ever put their faith in them again in the future? We hope so, because in this economic climate no one wants to see a big company close the doors of its small plants that call rural cities like Cottonwood home.
But from the outside looking in, a return to prosperity could be a stretch. From North Carolina to California, a certain level of trust, it appears, has been breached.