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Will Foods to close its doors in March; 71 jobs will be cut

Will Foods on Buffalo's East Side will close its doors in March, forcing 71 employees to lose their jobs.

The company, formerly known as Will Poultry, has filed a notice with the New York State Labor Department saying it will cease operations in coming weeks. It has told the state it will completely close by March 24.

Economic issues were cited as the reason for closing for the food distribution company that originally started in 1926.

The company, located at 1705 William St., began as a chicken slaughterhouse and operated as such until 1957, when it went into the food distribution business.

New ownership under the leadership of John C. Manley Jr., president and chief executive officer, took over about three years ago.

Manley declined to comment Monday through an employee who answered the phone at the company's William Street location.

So far, about 15 workers already have been laid off, said an employee, who declined to give her name. Workers were notified of the closing on Friday and staff members have been told their last day will be March 17, though the official labor department notice identifies March 24 as the closing date.

The remaining 56 or so workers will be let go over the course of the next several weeks, according to the notice filed with the state.

The company, which serves most of New York State along with parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania, sells about 8,000 items.

Donald E. Will, whose father started the business in 1926, sold the company to a group of local investors in late 2013.

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