NEW WINDSOR — Commercial lighting fixture manufacturer LSI Industries will soon begin moving production to Kentucky and Ohio, laying off 141 workers from its New Windsor plant, a top company official confirmed Thursday.

LSI will close and sell its 170,000-square-foot plant at 500 Hudson Valley Ave. by June 30, with the first layoffs of 14 salaried supervisors and 127 hourly workers beginning in January, said Jim Galeese, LSI’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Some workers might be needed at the company’s other plants, but LSI is still determining how many. LSI came to the mid-Hudson with its 2000 acquisition of Lightron, a local company dating back to the early 1950s.

"It’s heartbreaking," said Sam Fratto, business manager for IBEW Local Union 363, which represents the plant’s employees. "It was built up to what it is today, and at a certain point it’s going to be a zero. I’m trying to work all angles" to help the workers.

LSI is consolidating its New York operations because it has more production capacity than demand, Galeese said. Severance packages are being offered, though details weren't readily available.

Galeese said closing the New Windsor location instead of operations in Vermont, Ohio, Kentucky and Texas made sense when the company looked at which factories could best handle New Windsor's capacity. The move will cost $2.4 million over the next several quarters, but the company will save $4 million annually.

"We at LSI value our employees and our team members, and this is never a good occasion, but it’s a necessity associated with the current business environment," Galeese said.

"The New Windsor team has done a great job manufacturing indoor lighting products and servicing our customers," Galeese added. "Their lead times and performances have been very good, through the years, and they’ve launched many products."

Orange County officials stand ready to help LSI employees via the county’s Employment and Training Administration, said Bill Fioravanti, the county’s economic development director.

"In Orange County, we take the loss of any employer to heart," Fioravanti said. "Those are real jobs undertaken by real people, most of whom live here.

"Fortunately, we have gained a number of other quality employers, including some in the manufacturing sector, so the county will look to those companies to facilitate finding LSI’s employees jobs."

The local plant began as Lightron of Cornwall Inc. nearly 70 years ago. It made lighting systems for prisons, schools, hospitals, offices and chain stores from its Hudson Street base in Cornwall. From 1980 to 2001, the company moved and expanded at least three times, and it briefly had a second location at the former Newburgh Paper Box factory beginning in 1992. Lightron moved to its first New Windsor site, located on River Road, in the early ’80s.

daxelrod@th-record.com