Clothing supplier Alphabroder is moving distribution work to central Pennsylvania, a move that will cost 143 jobs at the firm's Broder Bros. warehouse at 2951 Grant Ave. in Northeast Philadelphia by Oct. 10.
The Trevose firm, which supplies name-brand T-shirts and fleeces to local printers who customize it for corporate employers and promotions, is concentrating work in a Harrisburg warehouse and other large U.S. regional centers, according to three clients who have worked with Alphabroder's predecessors.
Shipping from Harrisburg instead of Grant Avenue will force big changes for promotional printers who have relied on quick pickups from Broder Bros. and the other firms that are being consolidated, said Chris Borromeo, president of Logo Depot Inc., a Broomall firm that expects to purchase nearly $400,000 in wholesale clothing from Alphabroder this year, to be printed with client logos.
"It is very sad about the employees to lose their jobs," Borromeo told me. The shutdown leaves "a vacuum for another distributor to move back into Philadelphia, hopefully, and put people back to work."
Alphabroder, which last winter expanded its 400 Market St. sales office, did not respond to requests for more information, but has informed the state Labor Department of the layoffs.
Alphabroder began planning to downsize the Philadelphia warehouse and another in Niles, Mich., after its recent acquisition of another firm, Bodek & Rhodes, according to a newsletter published by the Advertising Specialty Institute, an industry group.
"The company will still offer pickup and local delivery service from Philadelphia because of the location's heightened usage and the distance" from Harrisburg, ASI added.
Backed by capital from Littlejohn & Co., a Greenwich, Conn., private-equity firm, and led by chief executive Norman Hullinger, Alphabroder has built a $1 billion yearly business by consolidating other suppliers.
Merck, the New Jersey-based drugmaker that is one of suburban Philadelphia's largest employers, says it will end 148 sales and management jobs at its North Wales, Montgomery County, facility by Sept. 10 as it stops offering Zontivity, a blood circulation medicine.
Merck is cutting the workers, some of whom are based in the field and are not regularly in the office, after making "the business decision to cease promotion of Zontivity (vorapaxar) in the U.S., effective September 2, 2016," spokeswoman Lainie Keller said in an e-mail.
Merck isn't saying the stuff doesn't work or isn't safe, Keller added.
In a separate move earlier this summer, Merck told workers it was shifting about 300 research-based jobs from North Wales and two other Merck Research Laboratories sites in North Jersey as it concentrates biomedical jobs in Cambridge, Mass. That state is giving money to biotech companies in hopes of increasing local employment in the college and former factory town.