Closing Up Shop

Winn-Dixie Company announced its plan to close approximately 150 stores nationwide and cut up to 10,000 jobs. Company officials say third quarter profits are down.

Hundreds of folks in Madison County have already been given their pink slip. Now, Madison County officials are gearing up for a massive layoff.

It looks like business as usual at Dixie Packers in Madison County; folks sitting around while taking a break and company vehicles bringing in products, but at the end of the month hundreds of these employees will be out of a job.

William Deming, Executive Director for North Florida Workforce, says, "A lot of these folks have been there a long time. It's potentially going to be devastating. We are working with our local economic development partners to try to lay down some plans for economic recovery in all aspects of the community."

Dixie Packers officials have been trying to retain these jobs. In fact, they're hoping to sell the facility as an ongoing business.

More than 500 employees are expected to lose their jobs if Dixie Packers officials aren't able to sell this facility by August 25. To prepare for the onslaught of unemployed workers the North Florida Workforce Development Board has requested $1.5 million from the state to help the employees.

Deming adds, "Those funds we would [associate] with the dislocated worker activity, which is employment training supportive services and really what we can do to get folks back to work and get them the skills they need to go to a different career."

Meanwhile, in a statement to Eyewitness News, the Winn-Dixie Company's spokeswoman says, "It's unfortunate that we have to sell the plant, however, we have to do what we need to do to improve profitability for the company."

The company plans to assist workers with a severance package upon their discharge. At this point we were unable to get comments from Dixie Packers employees.