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Portrait studio Lifetouch to lay off 206 in Charlotte

Minnesota-based photography company Lifetouch is closing its Charlotte facility at 9555 Monroe Road, which was previously owned by Herff Jones.
Minnesota-based photography company Lifetouch is closing its Charlotte facility at 9555 Monroe Road, which was previously owned by Herff Jones. Google Maps

Lifetouch National School Studios Inc. is closing its Charlotte production facility, and 206 employees will lose their jobs.

All employees were notified Thursday of the “difficult decision” to close the facility, the Minnesota-based photography company said in a notice to the N.C. Commerce Department. The closure affects 29 regular and 177 seasonal employees, as well as 53 temporary workers hired with the understanding that their employment was limited.

“It’s simply an economic decision,” said Kelvin Miller, a Lifetouch corporate vice president.

The Charlotte facility, which Lifetouch acquired from Herff Jones in 2011, didn’t have the capacity for the full line of Lifetouch products, Miller said. The lines it produces are easily transferable to other facilities, he added, and include preschool and sports photography and poster and banner manufacturing.

The job cuts will take place Jan. 4-June 30, and most employees will leave the company on Jan. 4 or Jan. 29, Lifetouch said in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice filed with the state this week. Under federal law, companies must file WARN notices when they make mass layoffs, close plants and change ownership.

A few workers will remain employed through March 31, at which time the facility at 9555 Monroe Road will close. Another two will remain employed through June 30, working remotely, the company said.

Lifetouch is an employee-owned company, which is why it “only makes these decisions when it’s best for the whole,” Miller said. “We take these decisions even more seriously.”

Lifetouch said it will offer severance pay and outplacement services to those eligible. All employees are eligible for rehire by Lifetouch and affiliated companies.

Most of the seasonal jobs were production associates, according to the WARN notice, and other seasonal positions included positions in the call center, shipping clerks and team leaders. Most of the “regular” jobs cut were account executives and other office positions.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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