The loss of about 100 jobs at a Thames engineering firm will have a huge impact and take a lot of spending money out of the town, says one of its former workers.
A & G Price went into liquidation yesterday, having failed to make a profit in the past two years.
Established in 1868, the business built machinery for the gold mining industry as well as rail locomotives and wagons.
More recently it made the metal grille covering the Supreme Court building in Wellington and keels for America's Cup boats.
Brian Donnelly worked at the foundry, first as a fitter-turner then for 35 years as a foreman, and his son had been there for 10 years.
There had been talks for several months but no-one expected the company to shut its doors so suddenly, he told Morning Report.
Small engineering companies in the town might take on a few workers but it wouldn't be "anywhere near enough" and some would have to leave the town.
Some would find it tough to adapt to other trades as they'd only worked in that industry.
The closure would affect other local firms, shops, courier businesses and trucking companies too, he said.
"It will take a lot of spending money out of the town".
Mr Donnelly said the firm had gone through both good and tough times before. It had many clients in Singapore, Australia and the Pacific Islands and major companies in New Zealand.
Thames-Coromandel district mayor Sandra Goudie said it was devastating for the community, but she was optimistic the staff would find jobs.
"We're talking about a lot of really good workers, people that are tried and true."
"They're the sort of people that are really sought after in the workplace.
"There are a number of employers that are actually screaming out for really good employees - which is what these people will be."
Ms Goudie said the community, with the help of Work and Income, would pull out all the stops to make sure everyone was supported.