BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – The mill shut down could result in more than 450-people losing their jobs and that ripple effect will be felt across the county and city.

Many others do not work directly for WestRock, but support the mill’s production.

The ripple effect of the mill closing has left some local suppliers scrambling.

“I’ve given my whole life to it, and this one is going to sting,” K and B Land and Timber owner Tim Southerland said.

Southerland said he learned about the WestRock mill closure online Thursday, just like many others.

“Immediately I had friends and family calling and asking what comes next,” Southerland said.

He said the mill closure will force many suppliers to send their trees to other area mills outside of the panhandle.

“GP, Georgia Pacific in Hosford, takes a similar product and Enviva in Cottondale,” Southerland said. “They have to find other avenues to go forward. But for some, unfortunately, it will be the end of an era.”

The mill has been here for 92-years, which is the entire lifetime of just about every local in Bay County.

“I happen to be one of the mill babies as I grew up on it. It provided for my family,” Bay County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Carol Roberts said.

Roberts said this negative economic impact will be felt by many businesses.

“The Bayline Railroad, you get to thinking about Krayton who uses a product that the mill produces,” Roberts said. “The list just goes on, and it’s not just those specific employees but many many others.”

The Bay County’s utility department will also take a hit. They supply the mill with raw water from Deer Point Reservoir.

County and city officials are concerned about unemployment and finding ways to employ many workers who are losing their jobs. But they are also looking to the future.

Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki said the mill has roughly a $350 million impact on the local economy.

“How do we take the opportunity cost of that particular property, and turn it into something positive for Panama City and Bay County,” Brudnicki said.

It is too early to know what is going to happen to the mill property.

WestRock officials could sell it to anyone, and so far, they have not made any statements on the matter.