Newpage's filing for chapter 11 debt restructuring on Wednesday was a way to handle its $3 billion of debt.
The company reported a loss of $656 million last year.
"It is very disappointing news to the community, but it was very much inevitable," said Melissa Loken, president of the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce.
"This certainly doesn't mean the end of the world at all, it's a positive step for the company to move forward," said Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Mary Jo Carson. "Otherwise it probably wasn't going to be able to move forward."
Newpage would not comment on the future of jobs in Northcentral Wisconsin.
The company president released a statement Wednesday:
"We expect to continue to provide
our customers with the exceptional
service and high-quality products
they have come to expect. We
recognize customers have choices,
and newpage needs to continue to
earn their trust and loyalty
Newpage has a history of layoffs. The company has closed three plants in the last five years. One of those plants had 600 jobs. And in Wisconsin Rapids, where the paper industry is a large part of the economy, it has people worried that the bankruptcy filing will lead to the loss of jobs.
"I think they're going to be harder and harder to come by," said Wisconsin Rapids resident Phyllis Runnels. "And they probably will be eliminated eventually. And I've see that happen in a couple of paper mills around here."
"What does it mean for this town? It means everything," said Lynn Langdon, another Wisconsin Rapids resident. "The biggest employer in town. The town is based on it. Thereby, the town would really fold if newpage folds too."
Even the mayor of Wisconsin Rapids recognizes it's a new day.
"Life has changed, the paper industry is a little different than it used to be," Carson said. "But the opportunities I think are still there."