Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Dec. 7, 2022

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Hawthorne lays off 150 at Vancouver site

Gardening firm to consolidate some services to California

By , Columbian staff writer

Hawthorne Gardening Co.’s west Vancouver facility has laid off 150 employees as part of a restructuring of the indoor gardening company.

The employees are currently not reporting to work, but are being paid through April 1 when the layoff officially goes into effect. The staff laid off were primarily in the company’s lighting manufacturing division.

Hawthorne announced earlier this month that it’s consolidating its lighting manufacturing services to a single facility in Temecula, Calif.

Temecula is in the heart to the company’s largest market, has close proximity to ports and has other transportation advantages, said Tom Matthews, chief communications officer at Hawthorne Gardening Co.

“Temecula will become our lighting manufacturing hub for North America,” said Matthews.

ScottsMiracle-Gro, parent company of Hawthorne Gardening, announced in a Jan. 4 press release that Hawthorne’s sales in its first fiscal quarter of the year were expected to decline 40 percent as a result of a slowdown in the cannabis market and supply chain issues that have led to delays in the sale of certain product lines.

“It’s clear this year is going to be challenged, and we’ll see a decline in sales,” said James Hagedorn, chief executive and chair of the board at ScottsMiracle-Gro, in a call to investors Feb. 1. “While the current market reality is frustrating, we’re not discouraged. We continue to believe in this space and its long-term potential.”

The broader legalization of cannabis since Hawthorne came to Vancouver in 2018 has prompted the company to find more space and figure out how to get closer to customers.

“This move will significantly reduce our inbound and outbound distribution costs, better leverage our labor force and take advantage of one of the best manufacturing plants in the (ScottsMiracle-Gro) network,” said Christopher Hagedorn, division president of Hawthorne, during the call. “Those savings will allow us to take substantial costs out of each fixture and significantly improve our already market-leading position, especially in the critical LED market.

“While the business decision was easy, it’s never a good day when you have to part with valued members of the team,” he said. “We did everything we could to provide them a soft landing. And I sincerely wish them well moving forward.”

“We don’t want to diminish the fact that people are impacted,” said Matthews, adding that the company has been working to take care of employees. Those laid off have been offered severance packages, placement services to help find jobs elsewhere and the potential to move into other roles within the company.

Hawthorne has two Northwest facilities, the one in Vancouver and a large distribution center in Gresham, Ore.

About 100 people are still working at the Vancouver facility and more than 100 are working in the Gresham facility. The remaining Vancouver staff are working in lighting research and development, lighting quality control and testing, marketing, information technology, customer service and other support functions. The manufacture of carbon filters and plastic trays used in indoor growing is still being done at the Vancouver plant.

“The Pacific Northwest is still an important region for us and will continue to be,” said Matthews.