Confirmed: Copps Warehouse to Close Doors in September
By Patrick Lynn
Employees of Copps Distribution Company in Stevens Point say they will all be out of a job in September.
Employees of the Wayne Street warehouse say they received termination notices around lunchtime on Tuesday saying warehouse would close and all employees would be terminated no later than September 30.
The warehouse, located at 2828 Wayne St., distributes food to a number of Roundy’s chain stores in the upper Midwest, including a number of Rainbow grocery store locations in Minnesota. Roundy’s sold the Rainbow locations to SuperValue, Inc., making operations at the Stevens Point warehouse obsolete.
One worker, who asked to be identified only as Gerald F., said the company brought in some extra security before breaking the news to workers. He said he’s been with the company for 30 years, and the prospect of starting over somewhere else isn’t very appealing.
“I don’t know where else I’m going to get paid what I do here, or get the vacation I do here,” Gerald said. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do now.”
Gerald said he and his coworkers expected layoffs to hit the plant.
“It says right here all employees will be terminated no later than September 30, 2014,” Gerald said, reading from his termination letter. “Nobody expected that.”
Bruce Trimble, employer services director for the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, said large- scale closures like this one are always hard on a community, and even more so because of the nature of jobs aren’t necessarily in high demand.
“The high-demand jobs out there right now are metal fabrication, IT and some areas of healthcare,” Trimble said. “The last 7,200 displaced workers we’ve seen over the past years we’ve been able to provide some job training and classroom services, basic computer skills and some job-search assistance, but whether people take the training is entirely their choice.”
The warehousing closing is just the latest in a slew of large-scale firings over recent years. Ministry Medical announced last May it was laying off 225 employees. The NewPage mill in Whiting closed its doors in 2010, leaving more than 350 without work, and in April of 2012 about 150 lost their jobs when the local Joerns Healthcare factory closed down.
But several companies are also hiring locally, with Berkshire Hathaway, formerly Noel, announcing last week it was hiring more than 100 people due to the company’s growth. SentryWorld also announced it was hiring 75, and Copper Leaf Care Management Group is also priming to hire 30 additional workers for their senior care living facilities in the area.
Roundy’s Vice President of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications James Hyland could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, but the company did release the following statement on its website:
“Roundy’s, Inc. (“Roundy’s”) (NYSE: RNDY), a leading grocer in the Midwest, today announced the closure of its Stevens Point, WI distribution facility. The company stated that in connection with its recent announcement of the divestiture of its Rainbow stores in the Twin Cities area, it will close its Stevens Point distribution center. The company will consolidate operations to its Oconomowoc, WI and Mazomanie, WI distribution facilities. A gradual phase-out of operations will occur and operations at the Stevens Point facility will cease entirely by September 30, 2014.”
Roundy’s was founded in Milwaukee in 1872 and operates more than 170 grocery stores throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, including Copps and Pick’n Save.