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Major Upper Valley employer closing its doors - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Major Upper Valley employer closing its doors

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WEST LEBANON, N.H. -

It's a sprawling campus on Technology Drive in West Lebanon-- Olympus Biotech. But Olympus employees coming and going here will soon be a thing of the past.

"It is very significant. Lebanon has been one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state of New Hampshire for a long time and this is really going to add to the rolls," said Paul Boucher of the Greater Lebanon Chamber of Commerce.

Some 120 workers, along with seven additional employees across the river in Wilder, are losing their jobs. The company makes medical equipment and camera and audio products. Olympus announced the move earlier this year and the pink slips are starting to be handed out.

Nearby businesses owners are concerned.

"I hate to see anyone go out of business, leave the area," said Vinnie Cantore of Cantore's Pizza.

Cantore has been selling pizza and subs to Olympus employees for several years.

"We did quite a few orders with them, some catering jobs. We also cater here and a lot of their employees would come down for a quick lunch, so they are going to be missed," he said.

Cantore says business has been good, but 127 people out of work is a significant slice of the local economic pie.

"You know anybody going out certainly affects us," Cantore said.

Boucher says he is working with state and county officials to find laid off workers new jobs. And he says there are other biotech companies in the Upper Valley that may be a good match.

"This too will pass, I guess, and hopefully we can find the majority of the jobs for these people," Boucher said.

Company officials say the decision is financial and not based on the products or the performance of the employees. The plant will cease operations Aug. 29, and at that time, the remaining workers there will be out of a job.

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