WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Hundreds of workers in Lycoming County are now out of a job after the sudden announcement that the well-known Shop-Vac factory where they work is closing.
Shop-Vac has been in Williamsport for more than 45 years. The company laid off around 400 people, all of its employees at this facility, on Tuesday.
"There's never a good time to have a closure of a company and the people who are impacted. But now, during a pandemic, it's even more challenging," said Jason Fink, executive director of the Williamsport Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.
Fink and other local officials were told on Tuesday that Shop-Vac was closing because a planned sale fell through and that employee terminations were effective immediately.
Shop-Vac also has manufacturing facilities in New York and China, but a representative for the company would not say if those facilities are also closing.
"Just trying to be able to help these people get confidence in the fact that they will be able to pick up employment elsewhere because I know that there are probably a lot of them going, 'What am I going to do next?'" Fink said.
Julie Keller owns Jaysburg Subs, which is less than a block away from Shop-Vac.
"I was floored," Keller said. "We've been taking care of them for probably 15, 16 years."
Keller says Shop-Vac employees make up a lot of her business, and things have already been hard for her shop because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"With taking another financial hit like this, it could be really devastating."
According to the Williamsport Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, several companies in this area are hiring. If you are affected by Shop-Vac's closure, you are asked to contact CareerLink.
Companies are required to give a 60-day notice before closing. There is no notice listed on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry website.