The manufacturing arm of a company that's been in operation for more than 140 years in Saint John  announced it will close its doors for good.

T.S. Simms is a historic paint brush manufacturer on the city's west side.

At 48, Curtis Thorne is one of the youngest of 25 employees working at Simms. With more than 25 years' experience he's at the bottom of the seniority list as well.

"It's just like coming home and finding your wife after 25 years is leaving you. That's how much it tugs at you; it’s part of you. I think it's going to be hard to go by that corner and realize 25, 26 years of my life was there," said Thorne.

The company says it will complete the changes this fall.

The head of the union local, Bill Cameron, says it will likely be February before all the layoffs will be completed.

"Another family Canadian business is lost," said Thorne.

The company’s sole shareholder in Thomas S. Simms III, the CEO and great grandson of the founder, Thomas Stockwell Simms. T.S. Simms was an American Civil War veteran who founded the company in Maine in 1866.

The new company was then enticed to move to the bustling port city of Saint John in 1872.

Simms used to supply Kent stores with its products but lost that contract in January 2012.

Prior to that, the company borrowed $1.5 million from the province in 2009 to prevent layoffs as cheaper foreign goods lowered the demand for the Canadian product.

A statement from the company says closing the plant is "a very tough choice but a necessary one to ensure the ongoing viability of our business."

While the company is closing its manufacturing, warehousing and shipping centre in Saint John, its head office will remain in the city, as it has since 1872.