Layoffs Begin at Ravenna Plant

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Schreiber Foods says their decision to close their food packaging plant in Ravenna wasn't easy, but the facility was limiting their ability to expand and automate.

"The decision really though is not about the efforts or the performance of the employees at the Ravenna plant," says Schreiber Foods Director of Communications Andrew Tobisch. "They built a tradition of quality and service and really have made a positive impact on the plant and Schreiber over the years."

While city officials say Schreiber was not one of Ravenna's largest employers, the loss of nearly 70 jobs still hurts.

"Anytime a business pulls out of a small community it effects not only economically but as far as people having employment here - they employed 50-some people, 20-some of those probably lived in town," says Ravenna Mayor Peg Dethlefs.

While Schreiber is leaving it's important to note that Leprino Foods, a cheese manufacturer that shares the same building with Schreiber, isn't going anywhere, and may even help alleviate some job loss.

"[Leprino's] plant in Ravenna is very strong," says Ravenna Economic Development Director Trevor Lee. "It employs approximately 180 individuals and they've already started to absorb some of those being laid off by Schreiber and I think to a certain extent they'll continue to do so."

Lee says while getting another manufacturing company could help Ravenna boom, a focus on local entrepreneurship can be just as good.

"You end up with a more resilient local economy," says Lee. "To put it in an example, I'd rather have fifty mom and pop stores employing one to two people on our main street than have 50 jobs at a plant that could just up and leave."

Officials say the last layoffs will happen when Schreiber closes in February.

Lee says some Schreiber employees have already found other jobs in the area while some are pursuing other options like school and starting their own businesses.