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Embassy Suites cuts staff; Sunny Sky closes factory

Job losses are mounting locally, as two companies have cut 43 positions in recent days, although for different reasons – one because of Covid-19 and one for other economic conditions.

Uniland Development Co.'s Embassy Suites Hotel has laid off 22 employees as a result of a big drop in business stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

The 153-room hotel in the Avant Building at 200 Delaware Ave. said it is temporarily cutting the jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak, which has slashed occupancy rates at hotels as people are ordered to stay home, according to a WARN notice filed with the state Department of Labor.

The hotel is owned by Uniland but operated by Brookwood Hospitality, which issued a statement that it is helping affected employees "with successfully navigating this crisis so they are ready to return to work when the time is right." In the meantime, Brookwood owner Phil Gaulin said, the company "continues to take reservations and have strong business relationships to keep a small but steady occupancy."

"The temporary furloughs of our team members are a necessary measure to continue operations in the current climate," Gaulin said. "These are unprecedented times and we are all working together to ensure that we are even stronger when normal operations resume."

The Embassy Suites opened in 2009, as one of the first new hotels in downtown Buffalo. It includes a lobby-level restaurant, Sear Steakhouse.

The hotel is located on the first seven floors of the Avant – formerly the Dulski Federal Office Building, which Uniland redeveloped at a cost of $85 million. The 432,000-square-foot building also has four floors of office space and 28 condominiums on the top three floors.

Separately, Houston-based beverage maker Sunny Sky Products is closing its plant on Manitoba Street in Buffalo, laying off 21 workers. The company, which also filed a WARN notice, cited "economic" reasons as the cause for the cuts, which take effect May 1.

The closing is not tied to Covid-19, said Kelcey Splawn, human resources manager.

"This is something we had planned prior," she said. "It just coincidentally happened around Covid."

Sunny Sky Products makes cold dispensed fountain and bubble drinks under the Pure Craft Beverages brand. It also makes hot dispensed beverages, including Almond Joy-, Heath-, Reese's-, and Hershey's-flavored cappucinos and hot chocolate. It also produces carbonated and uncarbonated frozen drinks.

New Era Cap furloughing roughly 70% of its U.S. employees

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