Energizer workers told of lay off week before Christmas

A glimpse at what 570,000 square feet looks like on the inside. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

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A glimpse at what 570,000 square feet looks like on the inside. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

When a massive distribution hub opened near the Dayton airport in 2017, it was hailed as an economic victory. Now the company occupying the center is laying off workers.

Energizer Holdings told Ohio government Wednesday that it plans to lay off workers at the 2800 Concorde Drive center, just off National Road. It did not offer how many employees would be let go.

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The announcement is not unexpected. In November, St. Louis-based Energizer, prompted by questions from the Dayton Daily News, said it was moving some of its operations from the local center to a Monroe location.

Now, the company’s just-released Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act notice to Ohio government says that distribution workers will be laid off from the 2800 Concorde Drive facility while auto products manufacturing workers will remain. The change is expected to be permanent, Energizer said.

The notice invites the state to request a list of affected workers. A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said the state will request that list.

“These notices are solely related to the move of such (distribution) activities to Monroe,” Nikki Eaves, a Energizer Holdings spokeswoman said. “Having one point of distribution for all U.S. auto care products will allow us to better meet our customers’ expectations.”

A message seeking additional information was sent to representatives of Energizer Holdings.

The distribution and manufacturing operation was first announced in 2016. At the time the business was operated by auto products company Spectrum Brands Global Auto Care.

Last January, Energizer Holdings, the maker of batteries and portable lighting products, said it had completed its $938.7 million acquisition of Spectrum Brands Holdings’ global auto care business, which includes the Armor All, STP and A/C Pro brands.

Construction on the $33 million, 570,000-square-foot distribution center started in 2016. The building at 2800 Concorde Drive, near Dayton International Airport, was originally built for Spectrum Brands.

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The state awarded Spectrum $617,000 in incentives, contingent on the business staying in operation at the site for 10 years. The county agreed to $350,000 in incentives as well.

As of April 2017, the center had about 190 permanent employees, and temporary workers fluctuated from about 125 to 200.

One local employee told WHIO that she was told her last day would be near the end of February, and that the company will give employees four weeks of pay after the layoffs.

The auto products manufacturing operation will remain open, and additional production lines will be moved into the facility next year, Eaves said.

Eaves also said workers have been made aware of other open positions at the Dayton-area plant. Also, she said there will be job opportunities through the third-party logistics provider at the Monroe site.

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