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Milton's largest private employer lays off 30

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Stacy Vogel
January 2, 2009
— Thirty more people joined the area's growing ranks of unemployed after Milton's largest private employer laid off about 15 percent of its workforce Monday.

Freedom Graphic Systems, 1101 S. Janesville St., laid off 30 of its 175 Milton employees because of decreasing orders, Executive Vice President Richard Greene said.


The direct mailing company has seen its orders decrease 15 to 30 percent this year, Greene said.


"We had thought the economy might perk up, but the longer the lower volumes continued, the longer it became apparent that we can't sustain the workforce that we had," he said.


The company was founded in Milton in 1986 and now employs about 900 people at locations nationwide. It is in the midst of layoffs at its other locations, too, Greene said.


Freedom Graphics had high hopes in 2007 when it built a second Milton facility—a $3.5 million office, warehouse and production building—in the city's industrial park at 1475 E. High St. The city used tax incremental financing to sell the property to the company for one dollar.


At the time, the company expected continued growth in orders and employment. As many as 200 temporary employees joined permanent workers at times to help with day-to-day changes in work volume, Greene said.


Lately, the company has hired very few temps, he said.


Yet Greene believes the new building was a good investment despite the latest layoffs.


"We don't know when things will turn, but when they do, we're ready," he said.



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