Things Remembered could lay off workers at Ohio HQ

Comes amid reports retailer will file bankruptcy, close most stores

WARREN — Personalized gift retailer Things Remembered, which has a warehouse in North Jackson and stores at the Eastwood and Southern Park malls, has informed the state it might lay off employees at its Highland Heights headquarters.

News of the potential cuts comes amid reports the retailer, which sells engraved gifts, is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection and close most of its roughly 400 stores, according to a Reuters report earlier this month.

The notice filed with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services states if attempts to sell or restructure the business fail, or if a buyer fails to provide job offers to employees, some employees at the Highland Heights facility “may reasonably expect to experience” a permanent layoff.

The notice does not mention anything regarding employees at retail stores or warehouses.

The layoffs would start March 4 and affect 125.5 positions.

“While the company would have preferred to provide WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice before now, earlier notice was not feasible because its issuance would have undermined the sale and restructuring efforts that are underway at this time,” states a letter filed with Ohio JFS on Friday.

The letter states although Things Remembered doesn’t concede the notice is required now, the notice was sent because of the uncertain future and to remain in line with employment laws.

The company intends to offer severance packages and placement services to “help ease the burden” should employees in Highland Heights lose their jobs, the letter states.

Reuters reported Jan. 23 the company employs about 2,500 people in the U.S. and in Canada, and is hoping to sell the brand and online business during bankruptcy, a move that would preserve hundreds of jobs.

Things Remembered is also seeking buyers for some of its stores, sources told Reuters.

The retailer, which has roughly $120 million of debt, is owned by a consortium of investors including private-equity giant KKR & Co Inc. KKR was a lender alongside other financial firms that forgave debt in exchange for ownership of the struggling chain in 2016, according to the news service.