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Sarasota, Fort Myers jobs lost as national mover shuts offices


WayForth, a company specializing in moving seniors, is closing its offices nationwide after it is unable to find funding to continue operating.
WayForth, a company specializing in moving seniors, is closing its offices nationwide after it is unable to find funding to continue operating.
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WayForth, a Richmond, Virginia, moving company focused on senior citizens, is closing all but one of its offices Friday, Aug. 18, and laying off employees in Sarasota and Fort Myers after being unable to find investors to continue operating.

In all, 31 people will lose their jobs — 20 in Sarasota and 11 in Fort Myers. According to its website, all of the company’s offices will close Friday except the one in Richmond.

About 450 in total are being laid off, according to a report in the business publication Richmond BizSense.

In a letter filed with the state Thursday and sent to employees earlier in the week, WayForth writes that the layoffs are effective Aug. 18 and that it will not be providing severance. The letter was sent to meet WARN Notice requirements. Federal law requires companies to provide states with Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification notices when making job cuts.

But it’s not just employees who are going to be affected by the closings. There are customers who have scheduled moves.

In an email response to questions from the Business Observer, WayForth’s CEO Craig Shealy says teams in each of its market “are hustling to help clients find alternative movers and move managers.”

“The best thing someone can do if their move has been canceled is to contact the local team in their respective market,” Shealy writes. 

Even though local offices are closing Friday, he says, managers will remain in place for at least another week or two and the company has a call center that wil point customers toward other options.

A note on the company’s website provides a link for those who have already paid for moves to get refunds. The link also says anyone with items in storage has to get them out by Aug. 31 “otherwise your items may be subject to auction or donation in accordance with applicable state law.”

WayForth was founded in 2016 as Legacy Navigator. As recently as last week its coverage areas included Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Texas, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida as well as the cities Houston, Philadelphia and Boston.  

According to the letter, signed by Shealy, Wayford “has engaged in extensive negotiations with potential private equity partners regarding possible investments” over the past several months in an effort to get the capital it needed to keep operating.

But it all came to naught, and coupled with the fact that its largest shareholders decided against making additional investments, the company will have to restructure.

“This is a difficult decision and one that was not taken lightly or without every effort made to avoid it,” Shealy writes.

WayForths job cuts bring the number of layoffs announced in the region this week to 289.

On Monday, Paragon Water Systems announced it is laying off 161 people in the Tampa area, Centrex Revenue Solutions announced it was laying off 71 people in Fort Myers and LGSTX Services announced it was laying off 26 people in Tampa.

Update: This story has been updated with information from Craig Shealy about who customers with scheduled moves can reach after Friday.


 

author

Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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