Park Farms’ Sale Pending

OHIO, US — The sale of chicken producer, Park Farms, based in Canton, is pending to an undisclosed buyer.
calendar icon 23 December 2011
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While reassuring Park Farms customers the business will continue uninterrupted, the impact on its 225-employee work-force is less clear, according to CantonRep.

Christina Pastore Bucher, CEO and president of the company, confirmed the sale plans in an email late on 20 December.

"Park Poultry (doing business as Park Farms) has reached a preliminary agreement with regard to the sale of its assets and is working towards completing that sale," she wrote.

"It is anticipated that following the sale, the purchaser will continue to operate the business previously owned by Park Poultry," Ms Pastore Bucher said.

Her statement did not address the future of the company’s employees. She said she planned to issue a "full statement when I am able to".

Late last week, the company notified the city it anticipates the layoff of roughly 225 employees in salary, nonunion hourly and union positions on or about 17 February.

"The termination of employment resulting from any lay-off is expected to be permanent," Ms Pastore Bucher wrote in a letter to Mayor William J. Healy II.

"The purpose of this letter is to provide you with certain information pursuant to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification ('WARN') Act," she wrote.

The company sells chicken locally, regionally and nationally.

Its work force includes 154 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880 in Cleveland. A union representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

"We do not anticipate any disruptions in service to our valued customers," Ms Pastore Bucher wrote in the email.

Warren Price, the city's service director and the mayor's chief of staff, told CantonRep that he has "not been made privy to any additional information regarding the current employees at Park Farms".

The company has been raising chickens for more than 65 years, according to its web site. Park Farms processes, packages and ships chicken. Its plant and offices are at 1925 30th St. NE.

The Park Farms property was annexed from Plain Township into Canton about five years ago.

City Council recently approved a $100,000 economic development grant for Park Farms related to its chicken-sausage line. Price said that Park Farms has requested that the incentive be withdrawn. "It’s off the table," he said of the grant.

The CantonRep report concludes that Park Farms also received a five-year job-creation incentive, which makes an annual payment to the business for up to 50 per cent of the city's two per cent income tax paid by employees. The city will review the incentive agreement to determine if it is affected by the sale, Mr Price said.

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