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AUSTIN, MN — Last month we brought you the story of Austin Packaging Company announcing layoffs of many of their employees.
76 of the company’s employees, mostly in the pizza manufacturing section, were laid off on March, 29 after the owners cited a decline in demand.
Now new troubles have come about for the company.
Multi-million dollar debt and declining demand for their product has lead to the current owners turning over operations to an interim manager with plans to sell the company.
Those at the Minnesota Workforce Center in Austin are in the business of finding people a job.
“We recognize that being unemployed can be the most devastating experience and we want to help those folks get employed as soon as possible,” said Manager Dallas Groten.
They help with applications, resumes and cover letters and are able to find openings through a search tool, but they also have re-training programs.
“People who are coming in right now are often times very interested in our retraining program and are going through orientations in regard to that program and what services it offers,” said Groten.
Some who may be using these tools are those who were recently laid off at APC.
Now the owners have sought help to get their debt under control and sell the company.
“My job is to manage the outcome here in the best circumstances for the creditors of the company,” said Tony Natale, President of Shepherd Partners in Chicago.
Natale was brought in as the interim manager to help APC. He specializes in restructuring struggling companies.
“We’ve identified a buyer and we’re in the process of negotiating an initial bid,” Natale said.
He calls it an initial bid because he says they may not sell to the first buyer. His goal is to find the best offer for the people currently involved; a deadline that could come within 60 days.
He says those currently employed there should not be concerned.
“For them, showing up to work every day for, we’ll call it Austin Packaging or we’ll call the buyer ‘newco’ shouldn’t look or feel any different,” Natale said.
He said they are optimistic of the future of the company. They are out seeking new volume for the liquid sales end of the company and good leads are coming in. He said the current customers all said they plan to stay and some may even expand service.