Moss Inc. to move 50 jobs out of Belfast

Posted June 30, 2009, at 8:53 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Moss Inc. has announced a restructuring plan that will result in the loss of 50 manufacturing jobs at its Belfast facility over the next two months.

Once known as Moss Tent, the company is a world leader in the manufacture of tensioned fabric structures, printed graphics and display hardware used by major corporations to display and market their products at trade shows and other events.

Under the company’s new strategic plan, the manufacturing jobs will be relocated to Moss’s new 175,000-square-foot, state of the art facility in Chicago.

Approximately 35 engineering, technical support and customer service jobs will remain at the Belfast facility. The reorganization is viewed by the company as a way to increase productivity and efficiency.

“The reorganization of the company will allow Moss to continue in its efforts to become more efficient, cost competitive and customer centric,” Executive Vice President for Operations Vince Marler noted in a statement.

City Manager Joseph Slocum attributed Moss’s decision to consolidate to the global economic slowdown. He said the international firms Moss deals with have been forced to cut back on orders for promotional materials due to the worldwide economic slump.

“It’s sad. We’re sad for the families involved and for the entire region. In this economy they can’t justify having two separate locations for manufacturing,” Slocum said Tuesday.

“It’s a real loss, 50 manufacturing jobs,” Slocum said. “In the worldwide labor market, manufacturing is one of the hardest of businesses to start and manufacturing jobs are some of the hardest to hold on to. When you lose them, you tend to lose them for a while.”

The Belfast facility will centralize Moss’s key technical expertise to provide better service to its customers by specializing in technical support and engineering, according to Shelly Alex, vice president of sales and marketing.

Additionally, Moss will move to a new strategically located production facility in the Chicago area, which will be designed for maximum efficiency and productivity.

Salt Lake City will continue to be the company’s hub for specialization in research and product development and in high volume retail production.

“This is a good example to me that Belfast and Maine and the U.S. are not islands,” Slocum said. “It’s a worldwide situation. This is not something Belfast or Maine could have done anything about. In a world recession the first thing you cut is advertising, marketing and promotion. I’m just glad to see they are keeping some parts of the business here, and I hope we can build on that.”

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