By Terry Duffy
"It's just a bump in the road; we're looking at other areas."
So commented Modern Corp. Vice President Gary Smith Monday in response to news the Lewiston-based company laid off a number of employees, and to rumors the business was in the process of being sold.
Smith said the company did, in fact, lay off 12 employees in response to a recent downturn in business. Modern lost contracts with the City of Buffalo and in Canada. Smith described the losses as significant.
"We lost 300,000 tons of business, in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, Ontario. We did some adjustments, trying to right the ship," Smith said said of the layoffs.
He noted the waste business decline translated to a 42 percent differential for the company in Canada and pointed to lower volume and the weakened Canadian dollar.
"We were pulling less (volume)" Smith said.
He said the company's other operations, including its recycling, residential and commercial service units, as well as Modern's H-20Gro Greenhouse, all remain stable and no additional layoffs are planned.
Meanwhile, Smith said Modern is aggressively looking to make up for the recent loses in its waste business segment.
"The municipal contracts, we have a hit list (that we're pursuing)," he said.