Local firm lays off more than 30 employees

Eby-Brown will cut staff starting Aug. 8.

Eby-Brown of Springfield will lay off more than 30 employees in August from its NewFreshCo Foods business, which supplies sandwiches and other products to convenience store chains including Speedway.

Company officials did not return several calls seeking comment Tuesday. But staff from the Clark County Department of Job and Family Services met with employees Tuesday morning to discuss what assistance is available after the layoffs take place on Aug. 8, said Lehan Peters, deputy director of OhioMeansJobs of Clark County.

“They are closing their commissary division so roughly 31 people will be affected, including 30 hourly and one salaried staff member,” Peters said.

County staff members have been working with the company for about a month to line up services for employees, including explaining how to sign up for unemployment benefits and discussing available job training for those who qualify, Peters said. A June letter from the company to employees in the NewFreshCo business offers severance benefits, but also does not allow them to seek future employment with the company.

Despite the tough situation for employees, Peters said short-term training is available and she believes most employees will be able to find work with other local firms that have increased hiring in recent months.

“We just have so many job openings within Clark County as well as within the region,” Peters said. “I think we would be able to easily transfer their skills into another occupation.”

Based in Naperville Ill., Eby-Brown is the largest privately owned distributor in the U.S., according to its website, supplying convenience stores and other organizations with products like tobacco, candy and other products. Overall, the company has more than 2,000 employees and serves more than 13,500 retail locations.

Despite the layoffs, Peters said there have been few layoffs in recent months and she is optimistic most employees will find work fairly quickly.

“It’s never good when you have to go out and talk to people that are losing their jobs, but there are a lot of jobs and a lot of people hiring at a lot of companies,” Peters said.”We’re hopeful that as soon as we get their resumes and determine what their skills sets are we’ll actively start marketing them to the other companies.”

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