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Visionworks to close DeWitt manufacturing plant, cutting 89 jobs

By Eric Reinhardt


DeWITT, N.Y. — Visionworks, an eyewear and vision-care retailer, on Thursday announced plans to shutter its manufacturing facility in DeWitt in June, eliminating 89 jobs.

The San Antonio, Texas–based company said the closure is part of its “ongoing transformation to remain competitive and ensure a stronger future in an industry that is undergoing its own transformation,” Visionworks said in a news release.

Visionworks decided to close the DeWitt plant following the “loss of volume” in its “manufacturing network.” After analysis of all three facilities in its network, the company chose to shut down the DeWitt plant due to “financial inefficiencies and physical limitations for expansion.”

Visionworks will shift its capacity to its other facilities located in the San Antonio, Texas area. Those sites are “larger, more efficient, have more advanced technology, and are located near company headquarters.” The company said it has made “significant” improvements to these facilities to enhance their production capacity and they are capable of meeting its current and expected future production needs.

“This decision was not made lightly,” Peter Bridgman, CEO of Visionworks, said in the release. “Shifts in market trends, such as customer demand, technology, and competition, made us take a hard look at how Visionworks needs to change in order to maintain our leadership in the industry. After assessing relative cost and our ability to handle growth in the future, we determined that closing the [Syracuse–area] facility was the next step in our transformation process. This is tough news, but we will continue to make the right decisions to ensure the long-term strength of Visionworks.”

The company said it “intends to provide support” to the affected employees in DeWitt through internal job opportunities and outplacement support. Starting next week, Visionworks will begin providing onsite workshops to help the workers with résumé writing and interview skills, certification opportunities to enhance their résumé, and onsite job fairs, per the release.

Visionworks, which describes itself as the sixth largest specialty retail optical chain in the U.S., serves customers through more than 700 stores in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–based nonprofit Highmark Inc. is the firm’s majority owner. New York City–based Centerbridge has a minority equity stake in Visionworks, per the release.

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