Noteworthy Planning to Close

Top 40 supplier Noteworthy (asi/74360) has informed large distributor customers that it will cease operations in April, Counselor has learned. Noteworthy executives have told clients that the Amsterdam, NY-based firm has the material, staff and production to run its “business as usual” through the end of March. After inventory runs out, though, Noteworthy’s closure now appears imminent and there’s currently no expectation that the firm could be saved through an acquisition, according to people Counselor has spoken with.

Noteworthy senior executives have not responded to requests from Counselor regarding the supplier’s status. At least some of its customer service reps, however, are telling clients of the expected closure. The Noteworthy website, which was active last week, is now also down.

Top 40 distributor HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000) is one of several firms that received notice of Noteworthy’s impending closure. Mike Harrison of MHI Promos Inc., a dealer with Top 40 distributor Kaeser & Blair (asi/238600), received a similar message. A long-time customer of Noteworthy who couldn’t believe the news that the long-running industry supplier was shuttering up shop, Harrison says he called Noteworthy to confirm. Ultimately, he says, he spoke with a Noteworthy representative who said the company would not be in operation past April.

“It breaks my heart,” Harrison told Counselor. “They are one of the companies that have prevailed through all the transitions and changes through the years.”

DataPro LLC’s (asi/175783) Teresa Riley Danford was similarly surprised to learn about Noteworthy’s plans. “It’s an emotional thing. I just couldn’t believe it,” said Danford. “I have been in this industry for a long time and I can remember years back that when you wanted litter bags, you went to Noteworthy. I can remember seeing pictures of my two sisters and my father at shows with Iron Eyes Cody at the (Noteworthy) booth. There’s a lot of memories. It’s heartbreaking.”

To date, Noteworthy has not filed a Workers Adjustment & Retraining Notice, Cullen Burnell, acting communications director with the New York State Labor Department, told Counselor. New York requires businesses to give early warning of closings and layoffs to employees, the state labor department and others. “It’s possible that it simply hasn’t been filed yet or the business does not meet thresholds that would necessitate a WARN,” Burnell said. The WARN Act applies to private businesses with 50 or more full-time workers in New York State. It covers closings affecting 25 or more workers; mass layoffs involving 25 or more full-time workers (if the 25 or more workers make up at least 33% of all the workers at the site); mass layoffs involving 250 or more full-time workers; and certain other relocations and covered reductions in work hours.

Counselor ranks Noteworthy as the 35th largest supplier in the industry, after the firm reported 2016 North American promotional product revenue of nearly $49.3 million.

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