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40 posts categorized "Job losses"

August 08, 2014

Cherry Berry on Maine closed, but original Roch. shop still busy

It looks like the fro-yo is no longer a go in Rochester's Shoppes on Maine commercial enclave, though it's still flowing right along at Shoppes on Second.

07082014cherryberryonmaineThe doors at the Med City's second Cherry Berry frozen yogurt shop, which just opened last year, were locked up this week. A sign in the window of Suite 307 at 4662 Maine Ave. S.E. said, "CherryBerry on Maine has closed, Thank you all of our customers." No other details seem to be available about the closing.

Editor's Note: Thanks to Josh Banks of Banks Photos for snapping this pic and giving it to me.

This shop was owned by a separate franchisee and had no connection to Rochester's original and always busy Cherry Berry frozen yogurt shop at Second Street Southwest and U.S. 52. Joel Granberg and his wife opened that Cherry Berry in 2012. That shop is still open for business and serving up lots yogurt.

Of course, Pat Carroll, known for his iconic Carroll's Corn popcorn shop in downtown, was the first to really bring the most recent wave of frozen yogurt to the Med City in 2012.

Carroll's Cup is next to his popcorn shop in the subway under the Kahler Grand Hotel. He also has a Carroll's Cup in the food court of the Apache Mall.

August 05, 2014

European publisher closes Rochester office

An European publisher of auto repair manuals told local employees this week that its Rochester office is closing following the company's decision to back out of the U.S. market.

Maidenhead, England-based Autodata originally moved its U.S. headquarters to Rochester in 2005. The company, which focuses on providing technical information for mechanics, had 15 people working at its 4,000-square-foot office at 6301 Bandel Road N.W. until last summer. That's when it cut its staff in half.

Autodata online coverThere were six people working for Autodata in Rochester until the firm let four employees go this week. Two staffers will remain on Autodata's payroll to continue to support some large contracts from home, though the office is expected to be completely closed by mid-August.

"We've had to take the rather drastic decision to close office in Rochester. It's no reflection on the efforts of the staff, who did great job for us," said Autodata CEO Rod Williams, who flew to Rochester from England to deliver the news in person.

Autodata_logoAutodata takes a different approach than similar U.S. publishers. Instead of focusing on specific models, it creates manuals based on a subject like airbags or transmissions, and then includes information for all vehicle models, including those no longer being made. The information is constantly updated. It provides up-to-date technical information for about 17,000 vehicles made by more than 80 companies, though the bulk of the manufacturers are based in England, France and Germany.

Williams says the company, which remains successful in Europe and Australia, struggled to win over the U.S. market. It had some ups during its run here, he said. This office grew from four employees in 2005 to 16 by 2007.  In the end, it just wasn't enough to make the Rochester office sustainable.

While Autodata's long-time owners did sell the company to two investment firms in May, Williams says the change only hastened the closing of Rochester.

"Sooner or later, it was going to come, unfortunately," he said.

The rapidly changing world of publishing added more challenges to Autodata's push into the U.S. The first year that Autodata made more from electronic products over printed manuals was in 2007. Since then, the industry's move to away from print has rapidly picked up speed. Print manuals shifted into CDs, then DVDs and eventually online.

"The world has moved on from books," said Williams. "By the end of the year, we'll be wholly online in Europe. We've already been completely online in Australia for many years."

June 09, 2014

Mayo Clinic eliminates 14 nurse positions in Rochester

Mayo Clinic eliminated 14 discharge planning nurse positions in Rochester on June 2 in an effort to improve efficiency.

800px-Gonda_building,_closer_up"To improve service to patients and eliminate duplication of effort, Mayo Clinic is shifting some of the discharge planning work to other resources," explained Spokesman Bryan L. Anderson of why the Rochester positions were cut.

Anderson said that all 14 nurses impacted by the change were "offered the opportunity to select other nursing roles at Mayo Clinic."

He added that, "Some opted to retire/leave Mayo."

Unlike last week's announcement about Mayo Clinic Health Systems eliminating 188 medical transcriptionist positions in Wisconsin by outsourcing with a Madison company, the planning nurse nurse duties will not move outside the clinic.

Anderson said the discharge planning work has been shifted to other "internal resources."

June 03, 2014

Mayo Clinic to cut 188 Wisconsin jobs

Mayo Clinic's cuts of medical transcriptionist jobs has spread into Wisconsin with 188 positions going away as part of an outsourcing contract to reduce costs.

Medical transcriptionists convert dictation from health care providers into written reports. They also review and edit medical documents created by speech recognition technology.

Mayo-1024x731Mayo Clinic Health System notified Wisconsin staff last week that it's contracting with Amphion Medical Solutions to handle all transcription services. The positions will be transitioned over the next few months and Mayo expects to completely shift the work to Madison, Wis.-based Amphion by Nov. 1.

The change will affect 51 transcriptionists from southwest Wisconsin where La Crosse serves as the hub and 137 from northwest and southwest Wisconsin where Eau Claire is the hub

Amphion has told Mayo Clinic that is would be willing to hire all of its outgoing transcriptionist, though it's unclear if that would require relocating to Madison-Wis. or how comparable the wages would be to what Mayo Clinic pays. The 13-year-old company is declining to discuss the issue citing Mayo Clinic Health System's request to field all questions.

Mayo Clinic also says the displaced workers can apply for other positions within the health system that might might fit their skills.

This shift will add up to 40 percent savings in transcription costs, according to Mayo Clinic.

An average medical transcriptionist salary in 2012 was $16.36 per hour or $34,020 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This shift in Wisconsin follows last year's cuts of 82 medical transcriptionist jobs throughout seven southeastern Minnesota communities where Mayo Clinic Health Systems operate. Those cuts included 26 in Albert Lea, 18 in Austin, 17 in Owatonna, 4 in Faribault, 4 in Cannon Falls, 8 in Lake City and 5 in Red Wing.

April 09, 2014

Allegiant Air pulling out of Rochester… again

Allegiant Air announced Tuesday that it's pulling out of the Rochester International Airport and will end its weekly nonstop flights to Arizona on May 14.

Allegiant"We are always disappointed to end service in a market," said Eric Fletcher, Allegiant's manager of airports. "We thank the Rochester International Airport for their partnership and apologize to any travelers who are inconvenienced by this decision."

Allegiant began offering offering two weekly nonstop flights to Mesa, Ariz., in November 2012, with an eye to serving as a connection between Rochester and Mayo Clinic's Phoenix campus. The 166 seats flights travel on Thursday and Sunday.

A recent study of the airport activity from July 2012 to June 2013 found that Phoenix/Mesa was the top destination from the airport. Allegiant in Rochester had 15,580 passengers during those 12 months. That accounts for 7.4 percent of the passengers in this market. For the same period, Delta accounted 44.7 percent of the airport's passengers, and American had 41.6 percent.

That same study found that Allegiant tallied about $1.4 million revenue during those 12 months.

This marks the Las Vegas-based airline's second failed attempt to serve the Rochester market. From 2008 to 2010, it offered bargain nonstop flights to Las Vegas. During 2008, 27,854 passengers flew out of Rochester to Las Vegas on Allegiant. Those flights ended in 2010 because of lack of demand.

When Allegiant returned to Rochester with a focus on Arizona, there was no concern about demand with the built-in Mayo Clinic traffic plus vacation trips.

“We’ve had good luck returning to markets that we’ve previously pulled out of. We feel good about coming back to Rochester,” said Allegiant's Fletcher in 2008.

Rochester's airport has long worked at attracting and keeping airlines, although it's hindered by lower cost flights from Minneapolis.

In August 2012, the Rochester International Airport was awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department Transportation to help attract airlines to provide direct flight service to more destinations. The Rochester City Council approved a local match of $225,000, for a total of $750,000.

The airport's application included a letter from Frontier Airlines, saying the Denver-based company would be interested in providing direct flights if Rochester could offer incentives. The airport has not added any new flights or airlines, since that grant was presented.

Mark Sixel, who did the recent study for the airport, concluded his report by saying Rochester has a large enough passenger market to support more flights. However, numbers alone may not be enough in this competitive environment.

"It is likely the Rochester International Airport will have to offer some some kind of risk mitigation program, including waivers, marketing and even ground handling to convince another airline to launch service," he wrote.

Most experts say the bottom line is that the airport likely will need to offer financial enticement of some sort to attract more service. After establishing the relationship, then the passenger numbers need to be there to keep the service.

August 22, 2013

41st Street re-development projects cooking

There's lots cooking on the U.S. 52 North Frontage Road in northwest Rochester by the corner of 41st Street with one construction crew preparing a site for a new building and another one is re-vamping another empty fast food place right next to the other project.

The long-empty Burger King (and its overgrown grass) has been leveled to make way for a new commercial building. I've written about this project a few times and even my erudite co-worker, The Answer Man, mentioned it in a column this week.

DemolishedburgerkingInSite Real Estate, based in suburban Chicago, is creating a 7,500-square-foot commercial building on the site of the former restaurant at 4107 U.S. 52 North Frontage Road. InSite says 5,000 square feet of the building is already locked in by a future tenant, Mattress Firm. Mattress Firm previously had a store in south Rochester.

InSite bought that property from Dallas, Texas-based Z's American Properties for $655,000 in May. Z's American Properties originally bought the site in 1996 for more than $1 million. The firm also owned a Burger King building on South Broadway. It sold that to the University of Minnesota Rochester and demolished to clear the way for a future campus.

ExtacojohndominosThe long-empty Taco John's restaurant next to the InSite construction project is being re-vamped into a new home for Marty Gritz's north Rochester Domino's pizza.

Gritz, the owner of five Domino's pizza franchises, bought the former Taco John's building on July 26 for $320,000 with plans to move his north Rochester Domino's from its current location at 2986 41st St. N.W., near Home Depot and IBM.

The plan is to make the move before the end of the year, but first he plans to revamp the building to fit Domino's new interactive "Pizza Theater" format. That means a welcoming and colorful setting with an open kitchen that puts the pizza makers on display and encourages customers to watch their pizzas being made. It flips the previous kitchen layout, which showed only the backs of Domino's cooks.

January 21, 2013

Crenlo laying off 17 workers

Crenlo, which employs more than 600 workers at two locations in Rochester, has announced the imminent layoff of 17 hourly employees, according to news reports.

Office-buildingCrenlo's last major layoff was in 2009, when it laid off 193 employees during a rough fiscal year. The company recalled more than 140 of the laid-off workers, though about 30 were later laid off again.

Crenlo, which has two plants in Rochester, is a manufacturer of steel frame cab enclosures and rollover structures for equipment in the construction, agriculture, and commercial equipment markets. It also produces a line of electronic equipment enclosures.

The company was founded in Rochester in 1951. It is owned by International Equipment Solutions, an affiliate of KPS Capital Partners of New York City. That is the second owner since its local owners sold the company to an Illinois company, Dover Corp., in 1999.

September 07, 2012

Is House of Bounce bounced out?

Changes seem to be happening at The House of Bounce at 6301 Bandel Road. The popular children's play spot with its large inflatable bounce features and toys has been closed all week.

BounceclosingsignCalls to the center and to the owners, Sue and Ed Hiatt, have not been answered. Its website didn't offer any explanation and then the website itself became inaccessible as of Thursday.

While no one from the business has been available to answer questions, the business did recently sell the inflatables that it previously rented out to customers for parties.

It's difficult to say what might be happening at the four-year-old Rochester business.

The Hiatts sprang into action with the operation in the fall of 2008, and the store has been the site of many birthday parties and playgroup outings since then. It first opened at 2535 U.S. 14 West and then bounced to its current address behind the KTTC-TV station in 2009.

With more than 18,000 square feet of space and 28-foot-high ceilings, the Bandel Road location seems to be a good fit.

I'll keep tracking this to see if this is just a brief hiatus or something else.

June 27, 2012

IBM - No raises in 2012 for most of Global Tech. Services

Big Blue sent out an employee e-mail to its massive Global Technology Services unit this week saying don't expect any raises in 2012, particularly if you are an exec.

Ibm-logoGTS has a big presence in Rochester, which just announced creating five of the top ten world's fastest computers. Business Insider reported on this and then Computerworld followed up on it.

Any local IBMers have comments on this? Is it accurate? How big of a deal is this, if at all?

 Here's the email that Business Insider released:

GTS Employees,

The Employee Salary Program takes into account a number of elements, including compensation competitiveness in markets we serve, our ability to attract and retain people with skills we need, our business performance, and other employee investments.

It is essential for a services business to provide value-added services to clients at competitive price points.  Our objective is to ensure a competitive labor cost structure while moving aggressively into areas that are strategic to our clients and require innovative solutions.  This is fundamental to driving clear return on investments for our clients and to increase opportunities for all IBMers.

To balance our ability to remain competitive with the need to invest in people who have high-demand skills, there will not be a broad-based salary program in GTS in 2012.  Instead, we will target the 2012 investment to skill groups or focus areas as identified by each GTS line of business, based on local market needs.  These decisions do not affect the significant investments IBM makes each year in talent in addition to salary, including bonus programs, recognition, promotions, and skill development.

Your manager or leadership team will communicate additional information to you over the next few weeks.

Bob Zapfel
General Manager, Global Technology Services, North America                  

Richard A. Patterson
General Manager, GTS SO Delivery - Americas

Here's some from Computerworld's story on this:

IBM this year won't be awarding pay raises to its executives or to many of its workers.

The company said it is only giving pay raises to workers with high-demand skills that the company needs.

IBM typically awards raises during the mid-year period.

Ibm-logo"There are targeted skill groups of employees that are eligible for salary increases in 2012," said Trink Guarino, an IBM spokeswoman. "No executives will be eligible for salary increases."

Business Insider Tuesday published an internal IBM memo announcing the action that was sent to employees from from Global Technology Services executives.

One IBM employee, who didn't want to be identified, said he believes the lack of pay raises "is part of IBM's hyper-aggressive plan to meet its 2015 roadmap."

That IBM roadmap lays out an aggressive growth strategy, which calls for increasing the company's earnings per share by $20 by 2015.

The employee noted that the company has been spending billions in stock buybacks, but says it can't afford pay increases.

And obviously, IBM continues to cut large numbers of jobs, including many in Rochester. It ominously refuses to release any numbers citing competitive reasons, despite the fact that many of its competitors do release numbers like that.

 

 

May 26, 2012

Last call at Syler's/ Break Room

As the holiday weekend kicks off with burgers on the grill, it is the finale for one Rochester bar and grill.

Today is the last day of business for Syler's Tavern, formerly known as The Break RooGet_photo-1m, at 1635 U.S. 52 N. When the doors close tonight, that's it.


"We did have a good run," says owner Troy Wing ruefully on Friday.  "Unfortunately, when you look at things from a financial perspective and they don't look good, you've got to make some tough decisions. That's the position we're in right now."


A team of 17 people work at Syler's.

Wing originally opened The Break Room in 2004. That building had housed two short-lived businesses in quick succession in the two years prior.

The Break Room became known as a laid-back bar that often offered live music. It is where the always sold-out Americana Showcase began before it outgrew the venue and moved to the Rochester Civic Theater.

However, the abundance of similar night spots in Rochester made it difficult in recent years, so Wing decided to try a new approach.

In January, he revamped The Break Room and re-named it as Syler's Tavern. He expanded its menu to make it more welcoming to people looking for a full meal as well as a drink.

As part of that approach, he tried to get a permit for a patio. His request was denied at first, but the Rochester City Council reversed that decision and gave Syler's a green light at its most recent meeting on Tuesday.

Wing, who testified at Tuesday's meeting, says it wasn't the patio dispute that caused him to pull the plug on Syler's.

In the end, it was simply not enough money was coming in the door.

"We tried moving 'up market,' but the rate of expansion here is incredible," he says. "Every time something new opens, there's a little less of the pie for the rest of us to eat."