Only two years after international financier Michael Grunberg purchased Somerset Refinery and invested some $20 million to rebuild it into a viable producer of petroleum products, the company has closed its doors. Ed Phelps, spokesman for Somerset Refinery, told The (Somerset) Commonwealth Journal that the company’s largest supplier of crude had stopped selling to the company and they simply weren’t able to buy enough crude oil to process to keep the doors open. “Sadly, under prior ownerships, the refinery‘s reputation had suffered,” Phelps said. “Much of the company’s debt had gone into insolvency during bankruptcy proceedings, and many local suppliers to the former owners were never paid. That left a really bad taste in their mouths.”
Sumerset Houseboats, a Somerset company that has manufactured houseboats for more than 40 years, is up for sale according to a report in The (Somerset) Commonwealth Journal. With orders for houseboats suffering in light of the national recession, Sumerset announced last year that it would idle production during the summer and early fall and reopen in November. However, Sumerset President and CEO Steve Lochmueller told the Commonwealth Journal that sales just weren’t there. “People just are not buying luxury items,” Lochmueller said. Citizens National Bank is in the process of finding a buyer for the company’s building, property and equipment.
Just a little over a year after beginning air service out of Somerset, Locair ended operations there last month. Lynn Roy, Locair’s president and owner, told The (Somerset) Commonwealth Journal that the federal grant that made the flights possible was set to expire and city officials said there weren’t enough local funding sources within the community to offset the lack of federal money. The Florida-based carrier experimented with flights to Nashville and Cincinnati and most recently provided service to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., but in the end, Roy said, there simply wasn’t strong enough demand on a month-to-month basis to make the service viable.