Kent-based Alaska Distributors to cut 600 jobs in sell-off; officials hope most will be rehired

Kent-based Alaska Distributors Co. will cut approximately 600 jobs this fall as the company prepares to sell portions of its operations to CoHo Distributing, according to Steve Loeb, president and chief executive officer of the Alaska Distributors.

Kent-based Alaska Distributors Co. plans to cut upward of 600 jobs in the fall

Kent-based Alaska Distributors Co. plans to cut upward of 600 jobs in the fall

Kent-based Alaska Distributors Co. will cut approximately 600 jobs this fall as the company prepares to sell portions of its operations to CoHo Distributing, according to Steve Loeb, president and chief executive officer of the Alaska Distributors.

Because of the sale, the company is required to notify the state of the pending closure and give 60 days notice to the affected employees, but Loeb said “hopefully most or all” of the company’s 600 employees will be rehired after the sale is final.

“I would say a majority (would be re-hired)” he said.

Earlier this year, Alaska Distributors was sold to CoHo Distributing. Alaska Distributors is a family-run, beverage-distribution business that operates in seven states and is based in a 434,000-square-foot warehouse in Kent.

The consolidation of Alaska into CoHo follows an industrywide trend that this year saw SABMiller and Molson Coors combine, as well as the recent purchase of Anheuser-Busch by Belgian distributor InBev.

“We’re in a consolidating industry,” Loeb said, adding that the consolidation was the best thing he could do, as well as ensure the future of as many employees as possible.

Loeb said many distribution companies find themselves having to choose between acquiring other companies or being acquired.

“In this particular instance we decided to be the consolidated,” he said.

Loeb said plans are for the new CoHo Distribution to move into the current facility in the Pacific Gateway Business Park.

Loeb said consolidation would not have been his first choice, but the world is changing.

“Most people in our industry think we are making a sound business decision,” he said. “But it’s not without emotional challenges.”


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