HyLife Foods planning to close Windom facility, lay off over 1,000 employees

More than 1,000 employees in Windom could soon be unemployed if their business isn’t sold.

A Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) letter sent to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) says HyLife Foods plans to permanently close its facility in Windom if a buyer doesn’t step in and take on the plant.

The business, located off State Highway 60 near John Caldwell Drive, employs around 1,007 workers. If a buyer isn’t found, the WARN notice says all employees will be laid off, possibly between April 17 and May 1 or between May 19 and June 2.

HyLife bought the facility back in 2020 but, according to the WARN notice, has run into financial challenges, including from high grain prices, inflationary pressures and the plant’s operational losses.

While the company didn’t provide specifics in the notice, it stated that it has been working to find a buyer for at least part of the facility but has been unsuccessful.

Of course, even if a buyer steps up, the company can’t guarantee that layoffs wouldn’t happen. However, at its current rate, the company plans to permanently close the Windom plant, which would cost all employees their jobs.

In a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, HyLife President and CEO Grant Lazaruk said:

“Our industry has been facing unprecedented external challenges such as inflation, high grain costs, and exchange rates that are affecting businesses and consumers alike. As a result, we have had to make some difficult decisions.

“In 2020, when we purchased the plant in Windom, Minnesota, our goal was to turn the operations around. Our vision, investments, and strong community involvement are a testament that we intended to be here for the long run.

“On April 10, 2023, we shared that our leadership has been working to sell this facility to ensure that the business continues and is properly capitalized for the future.

“This means we intend to continue producing high-quality products while this sales process plays out. We want to sincerely thank our team. This is an extremely hard week, and we are unquestionably sad. We are doing our best to share the information we currently have.”

HyLife President and CEO Grant Lazaruk