Whole Foods committed to Gloucester, despite plant exit

Published on
June 24, 2019

Even though Austin, Texas, U.S.A.-based Whole Foods market is closing its seafood processing facility in Gloucester, Massachusetts, it plans to continue sourcing seafood from the Bay State.

Whole Foods recently said that its North Atlantic region will be permanently closing its Pigeon Cove Seafood facility in Gloucester, effective 15 August.

The plant closing will eliminate 60 full-time positions. However, Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said that Linda Shear, executive coordinator of team member services for Whole Foods, confirmed in a phone call that the retailer’s seafood processing will stay in Massachusetts.

“We addressed Whole Foods Market’s commitment to buying local and fresh seafood, and I am happy to report that this remains a priority for them,” Romeo Theken said in a statement provided to SeafoodSource. “I have asked them to buy it [seafood] here in Gloucester and my team will continue the conversation about Gloucester Fresh with Whole Foods Market.”

And, while Theken is “disappointed” in Whole Food’s decision to close the Pigeon Cove Seafood Facility, she was “pleased to hear that they are actively addressing the needs of the displaced employees”.

“I learned that all of the employees will be offered employment and training opportunities at Whole Foods Markets in the area [and] all employees are eligible for some type of severance package as well as unemployment benefits,” Romeo Theken said.

The City of Gloucester is working with MassHire to host a job fair for employees which will also offer resources for help with filing for unemployment, job training and resume writing, according to Romeo Theken. 

“I have been contacted by several employers who participated in the previous job fair [after National Fish & Seafood announced it was shutting down operations] and they continue to be interested in hiring the displaced workers,” she said.

The City of Gloucester will contact Whole Foods’ operations department to learn more about next steps for Whole Foods’ facility at 15 Parker Street.

“I am steadfast in my commitment to support our local workforce and will continue to engage with state and private stakeholders to provide new career opportunities and job training programs,” Romeo Theken said.   

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