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article imageCutbacks at coffee pod giant hit small Vermont town

By Nathan Salant     Aug 8, 2015 in Business
Waterbury - Cutbacks at Keurig Green Mountain Inc., the people behind the single-cup pod brewers that revolutionized how coffee is made across the country, could mean trouble for the tiny Vermont town they have called home since 1995.
While planned layoffs in Waterbury are expected to total around 200 out of the nearly 700 employed at the Keurig Green Mountain facility on aptly named Coffee Lane, town officials say the development is a new setback for an area still recovering from damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
The flooding damaged or destroyed dozens of buildings in Waterbury, population 6,000, and some 1,000 state workers were displaced when their office campus was so inundated by raging waters it may never fully reopen.
But Green Mountain, the central Vermont coffee roaster that hit the big time when it teamed with Keurig to make and sell single-serve plastic cups for home brewing machines in 1993, was not affected by the flood and kept churning out the brown stuff — keeping thousands of workers employed as Waterbury endured the resulting economic downturn.
"The company was generous in the recovery efforts and that will never be forgotten," said Vermont State Rep. Tom Stevens of Waterbury, according to the Associated Press.
"After we lost so many people at the state complex, we still had a real solid base of employees who came in and helped support our retail," Stevens said.
Now it's Keurig Green Mountain's turn.
Falling sales figures means layoffs at the coffee giant, and the company announced that a large proportion of the cuts will come from Waterbury, the AP said.
Everyone in Waterbury knows somebody directly affected by the layoffs or knows someone who knows someone who is, said local community activist Theresa Wood, who helped the community rebuild after Irene.
Wood said the company, still called Coffee Roasters by locals, has lost the hometown feeling it had when it was starting out and began growing
"They are not the small- medium-sized company that they used to be," Wood said.
"They are corporate America now and this type of thing happens in corporate America," she said.
The company actually was founded in 1980 in nearby Waitsfield, the AP said.
It was incorporated in 1981 as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in 1981 and moved its headquarters to Waterbury in 1995.
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