After eight years of manufacturing steel pipes and tubes in Stephenville, Caporal Industries, Ltd. announced Thursday that the plant is shutting down.

Employees were notified late Thursday afternoon that operations would cease immediately, Carl Spellman, general manager of the Stephenville plant, said.

Spellman said the closure left 37 people without jobs. A few, he said, have been offered positions with the company in Houston.

Spellman said the closure was spurred by an economic slow down that company officials hope will turn around and allow the plant to reopen.

“The message that we really want to send is that this is a temporary shut down,” Spellman said. “Our intention is to reopen early next year.”

In February, Caporal requested and was granted a tax abatement from the city for an expansion on a proposed $3,675,000 ERW mill. At the time, Caporal officials said the expansion would create 60-80 new jobs. Spellman said the owners hope to move forward with the project if and when the plant reopens.

Stephenville Chamber of Commerce President/CEO July Danley said she was saddened to hear about the closing.

“We will be in prayer for all the families affected by the loss of jobs, yet I know that our community will rally together and help them out until they can get plugged back in with another job,” Danley said.