The largest employer in the town of Seaforth, the E.D. Smith salad dressing plant, is closing its doors and moving south, taking 180 jobs with it.

Across the street at Janet’s Country Donut Café, owner Janet Haak knows her business will also feel the effects of the closure in 2013.

“I feel bad for the people, the workers, because there’s some of them that have two in the family, couples.”

No one from E.D. Smith’s parent company, Illinois-based Treehouse Foods, was available to speak to CTV News Thursday.

But in a previous statement the president has said closing the plant is about increasing efficiencies. Production is moving to Pennsylvania.

Huron East Mayor Bernie MacLellan says “E.D. Smith is currently the largest employer in Huron East and this is a big hit to the town.”

Nonetheless MacLellan is still optimistic someone will step in to buy the building, and says he is working with Treehouse Foods to that end.

“They are supplying floor plans so the town itself can actually go out and try and find people that are actually interested in buying the facilities and starting up another business.”

Residents say they’re still in shock. The plant has been operating under one owner or another for decades.

Stephen Hussey says “My biggest problem is where are these guys going to go that are over 56? Some of them got in there when they got out of high school years ago.”

The mayor says Ontario Works has already offered to help, but he still hopes they won’t need that support.

Three years ago 100 people in Waterloo Region lost their jobs when one of the company’s plants in Cambridge closed, with many of those jobs going to Seaforth.