HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- New documents are shedding light on the abrupt closure of Premiere XD and its three plants that left 190 workers without jobs in Henrico County.
Company officials notified the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) in a letter dated Sept. 11 about the closures of the plants at 3910 Technology Court, 2700 Distribution Drive and 4650 Oakleys Lane. That breaks down to 28 workers at Technology Court, 24 workers at Distribution Drive and 138 the workers at Oakleys Lane.
The Hauppauge, New York-based company, previously known as Premiere Store Fixtures, provided displays for grocery stores, food service, including Starbucks and Panera, as well as fixtures for hotels and other retail and technology shops.
In that letter to the VEC, Premiere XD CFO Jennifer Filippone said employees were not notified of the sudden closure until Wednesday, because the company was "actively seeking capital and financing through various means" up until Tuesday.
Filippone said that if the financing had come through, the company would have been able to continue operating or postpone the shutdown.
"Earlier notice that the business and Facility might have to close, would have precluded the Company from obtaining the needed capital and financing in these efforts," Filippone wrote.
Notice to employees
The company also provided the letter employees received about the closing and layoffs.
"First, on behalf of Premier Fixtures, LLC ("Premier" or the "Company"), I would like to thank you for your hard work and dedication. This confirms that the Company has determined that it will be ceasing its business and, thus, closing its facility/offices located at 2700 Distribution Dr., Henrico, VA 23231, as well as its facilities in other states. The entire facility/office will be closed and all employees will be impacted/laid off. Regrettably, your employment will be terminated as part of this closing. The Company expects that this closure and the layoffs will be a "plant closing" within the meaning of the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (the "WARN Act"). This memorandum therefore provides you with information to which you are entitled under the WARN Act."
Officials said the permanent layoffs will affect the company's entire workforce.
The company was acquired by Tailwind Capital in August of 2015, according to a news release.
VEC officials acknowledged receipt of the closures in a letter to the company dated Sept. 12.
"We appreciate your concern for the affected employees and pledge our assistance in helping them to get the necessary workforce services they will need as they transition into new employment opportunities," Brett E. Tavel, Rapid Response State Coordinator for the VEC, wrote in a letter. "(VEC) will work with you and your staff in coordinating and planning the Rapid Response Services that are available to the affected employees."
Employee saw warning signs
WTVR CBS 6 spoke with Thea Hester, a former Premier XD employee in Henrico, who left the company last November after she said she saw warning signs.
“In July of 2018, they let off what seemed to be a third of the company and they actually brought back one or two from the people that they laid off," Hester said. “My heart still hurts for these people who now have no job at all.”
Hester described her fellow co-workers as hard-working employees who deserve a new opportunity.
Henrico officials said the shuttered facilities will leave nearly 1 million square feet of space vacant.
Employees can contact the VEC’s Virginia Dislocated Workers Unit for additional information.
This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can submit a news tip here.