Farley's & Sathers to eliminate 175 positions in Round LakeROUND LAKE — Approximately 175 full-time and additional part-time positions will be eliminated at Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co. in Round Lake in early 2010.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
ROUND LAKE — Approximately 175 full-time and additional part-time positions will be eliminated at Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co. in Round Lake in early 2010.
The announcement was made to employees during a company-wide meeting Thursday afternoon. The Round Lake facility is the corporate headquarters for Farley’s & Sathers.
The job reductions are the result of the company’s decision to relocate its packaging, warehousing and fleet operations to existing facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Dallas, Texas. In addition to the elimination of jobs in those three areas of operations, six employees in the corporate offices were also notified that their positions will be cut.
Approximately 150 employees will retain their positions in the company’s offices, including those who work in customer service, finance, accounting, administrative, human resources, logistics, supply chain and information technology.
Michelle Graber, a public relations official with Farley’s & Sathers, said the positions will be eliminated in the first quarter of 2010. She said she didn’t know if jobs will be eliminated in stages or all at once.
Workers in the production and shipping departments were told they would lose their jobs sometime between Jan. 4 and Jan. 18.
Dustin Casper, who has worked for more than two years in the company’s shipping office, said employees were quiet when the announcement was made Thursday afternoon. Some employees broke down in tears, he added.
“It was just kind of shocking and it came out of nowhere,” Casper said. “Nobody really thought it would be coming.”
A small rumor had been circulating in recent weeks that perhaps the third shift packaging operation would close at the end of the year, but Casper said nobody expected the entire packing and shipping departments would be eliminated.
“There’s a lot of innocent, awesome people that are just losing their jobs,” said Casper. “I know a lot of people that have been there for 20 years plus.”
Casper said he had just applied for college on Wednesday and, if accepted, had planned to switch to part-time employment at Farley’s & Sathers by mid-January.
Graber said the company will work with employees on counseling and relocation efforts in the coming days, weeks and months.
“We are committed to offering alternative positions within the company where possible,” Graber said. “We will be providing assistance to ease the transition, including comprehensive severance packages, outplacement services, education, retraining and counseling.
“In addition to that, we will be working closely with local government officials and employment agencies to identify opportunities outside of Farley’s & Sathers,” she added.
Graber said employees will have the opportunity to apply for positions open within any of Farley’s & Sathers other facilities. Counseling services will be offered to employees beginning this morning.
The company’s decision to close its manufacturing, warehouse and trucking operations in Round Lake was based on the need to become more cost-competitive and innovative, said Graber.
“We plan to do that by improving our supply chain, reducing freight fuel and production costs and increasing operator efficiencies,” Graber said. “We intend to become innovative by building on the growth that we have already experienced.”
Graber said Farley’s & Sathers plans to establish marketing offices in Chicago, Ill., which is more centrally located to the company’s customer base. The move will provide the businesses with a larger pool of marketing talent and will better meet customer expectations, she said.
“This new organizational structure is necessary to help ensure the company’s continued success over the long term,” Farley’s & Sathers President Dennis Nemeth said in a press release issued by the company late Thursday afternoon. “However, such decisions are never easy. We value the dedication and hard work of all of our employees.”
A supervisor in the production facility declined to comment on the announcement or the impact it will have on employees.
Farley’s & Sathers has been in operation in Round Lake since 2002, but the actual Sathers Co. got its start in the southern Nobles County community in 1936 as a small grocery business. The packaging and trucking operations began in the 1960s in Round Lake.
Graber said the future of the warehouse facilities in Round Lake is unknown at this time.