Liberty Medical in Port St. Lucie to lay off 263 employees

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Liberty Medical, a diabetes-supply firm based in Port St. Lucie, informed the state on Thursday that it plans to lay off 263 employees on Aug. 27.

The company, which was once the largest private employer in the city with more than 2,400 employees, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2013.

Liberty also informed the state that it "may be selling substantially all of its assets."

"I hate it when they lay people off," says Terri Addison-Mullins who owns and operates Artistic Inspiration Candy and Cake Supplies, a neighboring business in Port St. Lucie.

She's been at this location since 2008. It's not the first time her neighbors have laid people off. 

"Their employees shop around here, they eat lunch around here," she says. "When they are not there, and don't have the money to spend, the whole area suffers."

"No community leader anywhere wants to get a layoff notice," says Port St. Lucie Mayor Gregory Oravec, when he got the notice Wednesday night. 

He says the timing of the 263 person layoff is the silver lining.

"I'll give you one company that's here called Teleperformance. One company, they're tying to hire 300 people."

The Great Recession hit Port St. Lucie hard.

Terri says, "As the times have gotten bad, you know when the economy was real bad a few years ago, I really did almost close my doors a few years ago.

Mayor Oravec says these layoffs aren't the precursor to another economic low.

"It feels so good to be out of that depression. To be growing. We added another 10,000 people over the last year. We remain the safest largest city in Florida, property values are up 12.5%. Really, you could say we're back, baby," Oravec says.

Terri has noticed a busier summer than normal. But it's still hard some neighbors knowing some neighbors have likely lost their job

"That's a shame. I really feel bad for these people losing their jobs."

The sale of Liberty's assets is expected to go through in July. Layoffs would happen in late August.

In a letter to the state, Liberty said the layoffs are expected to be permanent. The company says "all affected employees have been notified of their separation dates."

A list of the job titles that will be affected spans all levels of the company, from the president and chief financial officer to housekeepers.

You can read the full letter below.

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