NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — Riddell Sports has announced local seasonal layoffs, plus some layoffs of permanent employees due to the impact of COVID-19.
The annual seasonal layoffs of plant workers are only one element of a company-wide restructuring, according to Erin Griffin, Riddell’s vice president of marketing and communications.
“Beyond Riddell’s normal seasonal layoffs in North Ridgeville, there were additional full-time, permanent positions eliminated across the company, all as part of the reduction in force,” Griffin said.
“This difficult decision is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption it has caused the football industry,” she said.
Riddell manufactures football helmets and other sports equipment, as well as collectibles.
Though the company would not reveal how many North Ridgeville plant workers were being laid off or how much the company will save, a source said the total number of local layoffs was 18. The North Ridgeville plant has anywhere from 250 to 350 workers, depending on the season, and there is no union representation.
The corporate layoffs were mostly in sales, Griffin noted, while the others cover a variety of corporate functions, including operations and support.
Looking down the road, Griffin said, “While the restructuring is driven by the pandemic, Riddell is confident that this challenge will be an opportunity for it to align the organization around its long-term priorities as it supports the broader football community’s return to the field in the future.”
She added: “Riddell will continue to focus on reducing costs and maintaining business continuity amidst the fluid situation surrounding football. With that said, and importantly, Riddell’s business is very stable. We are well-positioned to manage through this period and further extend Riddell’s leadership position when football gets back to normal.”
More than 5,000 people attended the public open house on May 21, 2017, for the new Riddell facility in North Ridgeville. The company is headquartered in Rosemont, Ill.
Riddell moved its former facility from Elyria to the 350,000-square-foot location in North Ridgeville. The company added a distribution facility at the Performance Lane plant, as well as laundry services for teams. Total investment was between $22 million and $25 million.
Former Mayor David Gillock and city officials had created a 25-year tax increment financing (TIF) district surrounding Riddell. The agreements, as noted by the city, “subsidize companies by refunding or diverting a portion of their taxes to help finance development in an area or on a project site. Usually, the agreements help to pay for infrastructure improvements such as streets, sewers and parking lots near a new development.”
As of now, the agreement still stands.
Griffin also shared a positive note for the future: “Riddell’s consumer products business is strong as a result of demand for licensed items. Riddell’s full-size, licensed collectible helmets are produced in North Ridgeville, and we increased capacity to address the high demand.”
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