Layoffs at Vermont-based outdoor power tool company - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Layoffs at Vermont-based outdoor power tool company

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There's a major layoff announcement in Winooski. Country Home Products informed employees this week that dozens will soon be out of a job.

The layoffs were announced Tuesday. The Vermont-born maker of outdoor power tools gave 67 employees a letter or reached out by phone telling workers they are out of a job and when their last day will be.

Reporter Tyler Dumont: Why this decision?

Matt Bieber, Country Home Products president: We're committed to growing things locally here in Vermont. We are consolidating our manufacturing operations to an existing facility in Jefferson, Wisconsin. 

The company's president says the full-time, part-time and seasonal layoffs are in addition to the complete closure of their Winooski assembly plant.

"Essentially parts come in from different locations and they're assembled in that facility," said Bieber. 

According to the company's website, Country Home Products started in Vermont in the 1950s but was bought out by publicly traded generator manufacturer Generac in 2015. Several years before, the DR Power Equipment maker had used EB-5 funds to grow its Vergennes facility, which is slated to continue housing product development and sales offices. Major layoffs haven't hit the company since the 2008 recession.

Dumont: Is this a symbol of a changing marketplace?

Bieber: No, I don't think it is a symbol of a changing marketplace. I think for us it is a way for us to consolidate and get back to the core of what we do. And for us to continue to grow. We've been on a growth trajectory for the last five years and hope to continue that.

Country Home Products says it's encouraging employees to apply elsewhere in the company, but a letter filed with the Department of Labor says the closure and job cuts are permanent.

"Any job loss in the state of Vermont is concerning," said Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont. 

CHP was named one of the state's 2017 Best Places to Work in Vermont.

The governor says the upcoming job losses are a disappointment.

"It reinforces that we have to watch every dollar. We have to make Vermont more affordable," said Scott. 

A spokesperson for Generac says about 200 employees, including those who are seasonal, will remain in Vermont. Those who are being let go will receive severance packages.

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