Saturday, October 4
BRATTLEBORO -- Because of the loss of one of its largest contracts, C&S Wholesale Grocers is in the process of laying off 250 workers.

While most of the people who have lost or will lose jobs worked in C&S' North Hatfield, Mass., facility, 20 employees in the Brattleboro warehouse were given their walking papers.

"Due to the loss of Big Y as a customer, C&S notified New England Division employees, which includes the Brattleboro warehouse, that some reduction in force was necessary," said Bryan Granger, spokesman for C&S.

Family-owned Big Y Foods Inc. operates 54 grocery stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Big Y did not return calls for comment.

C&S did its best to minimize the impact on its workforce by utilizing "natural employee attrition," said Granger. In addition, some employees were offered jobs in the North Hatfield warehouse, he said.

"Where transfer was either unwanted or unavailable, C&S offered employees a severance package," he said. "Excluding normal attrition and employee transfers, C&S reduced its workforce by approximately 20 employees from the Brattleboro warehouse."

Those who lost their jobs in Brattleboro might consider looking across the Connecticut River to Chesterfield, N.H., where no layoffs are planned at United Natural Foods, Inc.

In fact, UNFI is hiring at all of its locations, including the Chesterfield office.

While C&S is expecting a decrease in revenues, in just one year, UNFI saw its net sales increase 22 percent for the 2008 fiscal year, up from $2.75 billion to $3.37 billion. For fiscal year 2009, UNFI is predicting it will increase revenues by 10 to 12 percent.

UNFI recently opened new facilities in Sarasota, Fla., Ridgefield, Wash., Moreno Valley, Calif., and York, Penn. It also has plans to build a new facility in Texas.

Bob Audette can be reached at raudette@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.