One of Canal Winchester’s top employers is eliminating more than half of its workforce.

Auto-parts maker HFI Inc., 59 Gender Road, announced the cuts in a required Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification - also known as a WARN notice - to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Office of Workforce Development.

The company did not respond to a request for comment. It will eliminate 99 positions at its Gender Road facility on or about Aug. 3, according to the notice. Nine of the positions are salaried and the rest are hourly.

“We’ve been in contact with them and understand there’s a change in their business, particularly due to COVID-19 and its impact on the auto industry,” city development director Lucas Haire told City Council during its July 6 meeting. “We are closely monitoring that with the other manufacturers in the community.”

HFI is branded as a leading Tier 2 supplier of interior automotive products specializing in “cut and sew, foam-in-place, small parts foam and assembly operations,” according to its website. Its products include consoles, headrests, door and seat trim, and instrument panels.

Headquartered in Canal Winchester, the company also has locations in Obetz, Alabama, Michigan, Texas and Mexico.

“There’s an opportunity for HFI to recover some of those positions,” Haire told council. “To basically create space, they’re shifting a production line to Alabama … and so there’s an opportunity to gain work by that freed-up capacity, so hopefully, that will take place over the next few months or next year sometime.”

Haire said he was unaware of any other large firms in the city preparing for mass layoffs.

“This will need to be monitored closely, along with the changing landscape of COVID-19, which is severely impacting consumer confidence,” he said. “Canal Winchester is heavily reliant on our manufacturers that supply the automotive industry, so hopefully, this segment of the economy can recover more quickly.”

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