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Roughly 400 jobs to be lost as Rite Aid Distribution Center closes

By JOLEEN FERRIS

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV)- Roughly 400 people will lose their jobs when the Rite Aid Distribution Center in Rome begins to phase out operations at the start of the new year.

The layoffs will begin in January and be complete in July, when the center will close their doors, for good.

"There is nothing that we could have done as far as initiatives, as far as tax breaks...this decision was made at the highest level of their corporation," says Rome Mayor Jim Brown.

Brown has an extensive retail background and says that, while it's not a decision he likes, he can't help but understand why it had to be made.

"You don't need two distribution centers within this close proximity," Brown said. "The building that they're in could structurally be okay but it's outlived its use."

Now, the mayor's mind is on the hundreds of people behind the layoff notices.

"The individuals, the family and the kids that are going to be affected; that's got to be our main focus," says Brown.

The dislocated workers and their families will not be alone. The federal government's 'rapid response' program, administered by the State Department of Labor, is already in motion.

"It really depends on what they need; we'll do a survey of that workforce they'll tell us what they're interested in, what they need and we'll provide it for them," says Michael Clark, director of the State Department of Labor Dislocated Worker Center.

Clark says services will be available to the dislocated workers both in group settings, and one-on-one.

Only 61 of the roughly 400 soon-to-be-laid-off Rite Aid Distribution Center workers will be able to find work in the Liverpool warehouse, simply because that's how many openings there will be in Liverpool.

Rite Aid owns the building. They will market it for sale.

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