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Martin Bros. laying off some staff in face of COVID-19 shutdowns

Martin Bros. laying off some staff in face of COVID-19 shutdowns

From the Coronavirus update Northeast Iowa series
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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds gets a tour of the Martin Brothers Distributing Co. warehouse in January 2019 during a visit to Cedar Falls.

CEDAR FALLS — Martin Bros. Distributing is laying off some employees as the food service company braces for “significant disruption” from mandated coronavirus-related shutdowns of businesses and schools.

The company released a statement to The Courier on Tuesday explaining that it has “made every effort to reduce costs while minimizing the impact to our workforce. Unfortunately, some personnel changes throughout our business were also necessary as we navigate these uncertain and unprecedented times.”

It did not indicate how many and what type of positions were being terminated or where the jobs are located. A 2017 Courier story said the company had 660 employees at that point.

Martin Bros. is headquartered in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park. The company distributes food throughout Iowa as well as in Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota and other surrounding states, according to its website. Clients include restaurants, health care facilities, schools and convenience stores.

Customers continue to support local eateries with take-out, delivery and social media

Current conditions causing reductions in business for the company “required us to protect the stability of Martin Bros. and its employee-owners,” the statement noted.

“Due to mandated closures of schools, universities and restaurants, Martin Bros. has seen a significant reduction in business volume,” it said. “State governments continue to implement mandatory closures impacting our customers in states we serve as COVID-19 cases multiply. While we hope many customers will eventually resume normal operations, we anticipate significant disruption in the near future.”

The statement concluded:

“We are saddened by the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our Martin Bros. family, and we pray for the health and safety of our communities as well those working on the front lines. We appreciate the contributions our employee-owners have made and continue to make for our company and our customers as we adjust to the rapidly changing environment. In time, we hope Martin Bros. will heal alongside the many communities we serve.”

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Staff Writer

After 18-plus years reporting on local education, I’ve graduated to covering the city of Cedar Falls. Family and church commitments keep me busy outside of work along with lots of biking, rowing and skiing – pretty good for a guy with fake hips.

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