More layoffs

Published 9:36 am Wednesday, November 12, 2008

By Staff
in Washington
Impressions Marketingcutting back on hoursof remaining workers
Staff Writer
Impressions Marketing, which had employed about 220 people at a plant in Washington, on Tuesday announced from 50 to 75 layoffs from that plant.
The layoffs, which come on the heels of an announcement by Fountain Powerboats that it was cutting 70 jobs at its plant on Whichard’s Beach Road, are primarily in the production department, said Tim Holmberg, the company’s director of work-force development.
Most of the remaining employees will work four days a week, Holmberg said.
The hours reduction was the lesser of two evils, Holmberg said.
Layoffs and hours cuts were also announced at plants in Stockton, Calif., and Springfield, Va.
The workers losing hours probably will not all lose the same day of the week so the company’s plants can remain open five days a week, Holmberg said.
The company, which creates in-store displays for the likes of WalMart and CVS, is anticipating it will be able this January to rehire workers affected by the layoffs when contracts with important clients call for new work to be done, Holmberg said, calling the prospect “hope on the horizon.”
Holmberg also pointed out that, until now, the company has steadily increased the number of people it employs at its Washington plant since coming here in 2001.
The company’s move to Washington resulted in the reopening of the former Hamilton Beach plant and winning a Governor’s Award, according to a statement from the company.
The company also counted a strong balance sheet and little debt as factors in its favor, according to its statement.
Holmberg attributed the move to an overall deterioration in the economy.
Beaufort County’s chief economic developer, Tom Thompson, said the layoffs are a sign that economic malaise is reaching sectors of the economy that were recently robust.
A telephone call requesting comment from Washington plant manager Randy Roark was not returned Tuesday.