THOMASVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A steel fabricator is closing in southwest Georgia, laying off 128 employees.

Alpharetta-based Cives Corp. is closing its Thomasville location, leaving it with seven nationwide.

Cives President Greg Orff told the Thomasville Times-Enterprise that the economic downturn sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic “created an unanticipated and unsustainable situation in what was already a difficult geographic market.”

Most employees have already been laid off and the remainder are winding down operations, Orff said. The plant opened 39 years ago, preparing steel for building projects.

Cives was Georgia's 2016 small manufacturer of the year.

Thomasville Payroll Development Authority Executive Director Shelley Zorn said existing industries are seeking to hire some displaced Cives employees. The state is also organizing a virtual job fair.