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Duluth News Tribune picks up on the impending layoffs.
Thralow employees offered jobs in Omaha
Jane Brissett Duluth News TribunePublished Friday, March 16, 2007
NetShops, the Omaha, Neb., company that that bought Web sites from Proctor-based Thralow Inc., has begun offering jobs in Omaha to employees of the local e-commerce firm. Those who aren’t hired will be given a severance package, said NetShops’ human resources director.
All operations from Proctor are moving to Omaha, said Dana Coonce, human
resources director at NetShops. Dan Thralow, who founded Thralow Inc. and now
works for NetShops, said that 35 of the 39 employees who work in Proctor elected
to go to Omaha at NetShops’ expense to see the headquarters and learn about the
NetShops is just beginning to assess how many people it needs and to make offers to workers in Proctor, Coonce said. If Proctor employees aren’t hired to work in Omaha and aren’t retained by Thralow Inc., they will be cut from the payroll and given a severance package, she said. NetShops, which has more than $100 million in annual sales, bought 40 of Thralow Inc.’s Web sites — but not the company itself — in November. The sites include Binoculars.com, Telescopes.com, Peepers
.com and others.
Thralow said the company named for him will remain in Proctor at 9803 Westgate Boulevard in the JOBZ tax-free zone where the company’s warehouse building was recently completed. Thralow said he “can’t answer” what Thralow Inc. will do or how many people it will employ. “There will be a payroll,” he said.
Thralow said he has no plans to move to Omaha.
When the sale was announced, NetShops said it would keep all of Thralow Inc.’s employees. NetShops is a private firm that owned about 120 retail specialty sites — such as PatioUmbrellas.com, Hammocks.com and Dartboards.com — at the time of the acquisition. It was named Inc. magazine’s 13th fastest-growing company in America in 2006.
Thralow Inc. started as a retail outlet called Peepers in downtown Duluth’s Holiday Center. The company began selling sunglasses online in 1996 at Peepers.com and expanded to binoculars and other optical products with various Web sites. Thralow sold the business to Eye City Inc. in 1999, then bought it back at a fraction of the
original sale price when EyeCity folded in 2001. Thralow Inc. was named the
203rd fastest-growing company in America in 2006 by Inc. magazine.
The Omaha World Herald reported on Feb. 7 that NetShops laid off about 50 people to achieve efficiencies and didn’t plan more cuts. Coonce said that was due to a
reorganization unrelated to the current transition.
The integration of the Proctor and Omaha work forces probably will take several months, she said.
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Another person not happy with how they were treated by Netshops.
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