It was once one of the largest employers in Sisters, but it’s leaving town in just a few months.
Laird Superfood, started by pro surfer Laird Hamilton, produces a variety of mixes and snacks. That includes a popular homemade creamer, said to provide a natural boost of energy.
The company opened a production facility four years ago in Central Oregon, but now employees are forced to look for new jobs.
Eric Strobel from Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) said the news didn’t come as a surprise.
“I think people had been hearing that Laird was having some issues for quite a while,” he said. “I just didn’t know if things were going to happen a year from now, or if they were going to pull out of it, we weren’t sure.”
Just a few months ago, the company was the third largest employer in Sisters. Strobel said he couldn’t recall the last time an employer of that size left town.
“At one point they had about 145 employees, and then were slowly laying off over the last few months. So they have 46 right now that are that are left that will be looking for other jobs,” Strobel said.
Those employees will be laid off between December and January, but EDCO is working with Laird’s HR department to set up job fairs in the next few weeks to give employees a chance to keep jobs in town.
“We have four business expansions happening in Sisters that that will be adding jobs, and those companies are very interested in in hiring those employees,” Strobel said. He did not want to share yet which companies are looking to expand.
Central Oregon Daily News approached around 20 employees at the Laird Superfood facility on Thursday, but none of them wanted to comment on the situation.
Sisters is one of the fastest-growing cities in Oregon — and between December 2019 to December 2021, the city added 382 jobs.
Strobel says one company leaving town does not signify a trend.
“We’ve got interest from expansions within Central Oregon, we’ve got interest from companies outside of Oregon,” he said. “And if you’ve got the space available for that company to move in right away, it makes the whole process that much easier.”
According to Strobel, there are two industrial buildings under construction right now in Sisters (one at 40,000 square feet and the other at 15,000 square feet) that will allow for even more companies to move in.
He expects another business to quickly occupy the Laird Superfood space when they vacate.
EDCO will decide on exact dates for their two job fairs in the coming days.
Below is a story Central Oregon Daily News did on Laird’s merger with Picky Bar last year.