Huron Web lays off 73 employees

Huron Web Print and Graphics in Wyoming has laid off 73 employees as US grocery stores halt flyer advertising

More economic casualties of the fight against COVID-19.

Huron Web Print and Graphics in Wyoming has laid of 73 of its 92 employees after what owner Chris Cooke says was an unprecedented loss of business.

Huron Web prints flyers in the US market and many of its customers are large grocery chains. When the United States government started to ask people to stay home to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, people headed to the grocery stores and buying up products. The industry soon realized it didn’t need to advertise.

“The grocery stores kept calling and calling and calling saying they did require inserts and wouldn’t need inserts for two three four weeks…because there is such a run on stores on both sides of the border, they didn’t need to advertise,” says Cooke.

“Nor is there (a need) in the foreseeable future.”

Cooke says a million dollars worth of business evaporated in two days. That led to the difficult decision to lay 73 employees off Thursday.

“In 29 years, I have never seen anything like this and I have never been in a position like this.”

Cooke says the plant will continue operating on a reduced staff of 18 people mainly printing weekly community newspapers, including The Independent. 

“The good news is we intend to stay in business,” says Cooke. “I have always said we intend to be the last one (printer) standing, so we are going to operate with a Skelton staff.”

The news of Huron Web’s layoffs come just a day after Waterville TG said it would lay off its Petrolia workers for at least a week. Waterville employs around 500 people.