Whole Foods’ seafood plant closing, impacting 60 employees

Published on
June 20, 2019

The mayor of Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.A., is “disappointed” that Whole Foods Market is suddenly closing its seafood processing facility in the city.

The Austin, Texas-based retailer notified the city via a letter to Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken that its North Atlantic Region will be permanently closing its Pigeon Cove Seafood facility in Gloucester, effective 15 August.

"I am disappointed at the decision made by Whole Foods Market to close its Pigeon Cove Seafood Facility. This closure will result in the elimination of 60 full-time positions,” Romeo Theken said in a statement provided to SeafoodSource. 

However, Whole Foods officials agreed to talk to Romeo Theken about the closure next week, the Gloucester Daily Times reported

“We want to talk with them about what they're going to do to try to get their employees other jobs, but we also want to speak with them about the reasons for closing it and their plans for the space at 15 Parker St.,” she told the newspaper.

The company's rental lease at the Parker Street facility – which is owned by a Montagnino family trust controlled by James Montagnino – is not set to lapse until November 2020, according to Romeo Theken. 

"We want to find out if they plan to sublet that space or exactly what they plan to do," she said.

This is the second time in a month that a seafood processing plant appears to be shutting down operations in Gloucester, after National Fish and Seafood closed in May. Since then, however, a new group called NSD Seafood Group re-opened the facility and said it would re-hire as many NFS employees as possible.

Whole Foods made the decision to close the facility because “evolving how we supply our North Atlantic and Northeast stores with fresh seafood will allow us to meet increasing demand without compromising our selection and quality standards,” Whole Foods said in a statement provided to SeafoodSource. “We are pleased to have found a local distributor who will meet our high sourcing standards as well as continuing to partner with the local fishing community, providing our stores with fresh deliveries daily.”

Meanwhile, Whole Foods is “working closely with every impacted team member and will make every effort to find them positions within the company at nearby stores or with local businesses.”

After she was notified of the “sudden closure,” Romeo Theken said she contacted state officials and engaged the state's Rapid Response team. 

“Our focus right now is on the Whole Foods Market's Pigeon Cove Seafood Facility employees and their families during this challenging time. The City of Gloucester will work in partnership with the MassHire job placement offices to connect displaced workers with new career opportunities and workforce training programs," she said.

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