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Lowes closure in Ticonderoga slashes more than 80 jobs

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The Lowes corporation abruptly closed its big box store in Ticonderoga Sunday night, a move that affects more than eighty employees.

The company blamed lackluster sales and shuttered six other stores nationwide.

As Brian Mann reports, efforts are already underway to help laid-off workers. But the closure could also hurt regional contractors and construction workers throughout the southern Champlain Valley.

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No warning was given to the community before the store was shuttered.  Workers were told late Sunday not to report to work this week.  The only other notice was a message left on the store's answering machine.

"We're sorry but this location is permanently closed," the message said.

The Lowes store with more than 112,000 square feet was built in 2009.  It followed a controversy over the visual impacts of the store and its sign, which has now been removed from the massive structure. 

Along with a Wal-Mart, Lowes anchored Ticonderoga's retail strip on the edge of the village, attracting shoppers from across southern Essex County and Vermont.

Matt Courtright, executive director of Ticonderoga's chamber of commerce, issued a statement calling Lowes' decision "hard" and "unfortunate."

"This closure was not expected and was a surprise to everyone," he said.  

The Ticonderoga chamber will offer counseling and employee assistance workshops for Lowes workers this morning 10:30 am at the Chamber office on Montcalm Street in Ticonderoga, and again next Monday at 9 am. 

Courtright says they are also working to plan additional assistance through the state Department of Labor.

But this move comes at a time when jobs are already scarce.  Last year, another key hardware store – Aubuchon’s – closed abruptly in the nearby town of Port Henry.

According to the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, Essex town supervisors gathered for a meeting yesterday were alarmed by Lowes’ sudden closure.  Town leaders called the move “a huge setback” and “devastating for southern Essex County.

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