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C.H. Heist Corp., a Florida-based provider of temporary help and other services, will close its administrative facility in Cheektowaga, furloughing about 45 workers.

The decision is based on the company's desire to consolidate administrative, executive and human resources functions at its headquarters in Clearwater, Fla., said Mark P. Kashmanian, treasurer and chief accounting officer.

"Our plan is to reunite the company," he said. "We are predominantly a staffing company and most of our operations are in the south."

Kashmanian said between 15 and 20 employees who work in research and development, purchasing, warehousing and fleet operations will remain at the Cheektowaga facility. C.H. Heist operates a 30,000-square-foot complex at 45 Anderson Road that includes three buildings.

Kashmanian said it is conceivable that the consolidation could occur later this year, but will more likely be implemented in early 2000. He stressed that the company does not anticipate making any changes to its existing business relationships with local vendors and suppliers.

Founded about 50 years ago in the Buffalo area as a provider of industrial cleaning and maintenance services, C.H. Heist is now a publicly traded company that has been focusing on growing its temporary help division.

Kashmanian said nearly 70 percent of its business involves providing temporary services in the light industrial, clerical, information-technology and other arenas. It's Ablest Services Corp. division has 37 temporary staffing offices across the nation, including a branch in Amherst. None of the Ablest Services offices will be affected by the consolidation, Kashmanian said.

Other services provided by C.H. Heist include sandblasting, painting, cleaning and repairing of structures, including bridges and power generation facilities.

The company, which has been based in Florida for more than 20 years, had $72.8 million in sales in the first six months of the year.

Kashmanian and several local employees will be offered relocation packages to Florida. Kashmanian said he plans to move to Clearwater to stay with the company.

"We're currently working with other employees on severance arrangements and the packages will include outplacement services."

Most of the affected workers perform accounting, credit and collection functions for the company.

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