Kmart, 6 others warn of Illinois layoffs

By Julie Wernau
Posted Feb. 7 at 3:50 p.m.

Kmart is among seven companies that have warned the state this month that they are planning closings or mass layoffs. Kmarts in Franklin Park, Ill., and Washington, Ill., will close, the company said, putting 144 employees out of work.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Opportunity requires employers to provide 60 days notice of plant closures or mass layoffs. The law applies to businesses with 75 or more full-time workers.

Gold Standard Baking, Inc. will close a commercial bakery at 250 N. Washtenaw Ave. in Chicago, cutting 73 jobs by the end of March. 67 workers are expected to be laid off by the end of February at Itasca-based C. D. Listening Bar Inc., which sells DVDs, CDs, books and video games online at

AGI North America, LLC, a paperboard box manufacturing company in Jacksonville, is closing at the end of March, putting 70 employees out of work. Gray Interplant Systems, Inc. – a warehousing and storage company in Peoria and Mossville – is planning mass layoffs for the first two weeks in April, affecting 167 workers. And Doumak, which manufactures chocolate confectionaries in Bensenville, is planning temporary layoffs affecting 60 workers while new equipment is installed at the facility in March.

Additional layoffs were also announced at Silgan Plastics in Woodstock, Fulton Industries in Rockford, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. in Schaumburg, ZipRealty, Inc. in Park Ridge and Material Control Inc. in North Aurora. The company Dynegy, Inc. is closing Vermilion Power Station in Oakwood, IL, putting 53 employees out of work.

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  1. MinisterR Feb. 8 at 9:13 a.m.

    Here is the thinking that will clearly NOT solve our problems. I know I know it is Bush’s fault


    Take the pharmaceutical industry. A decade-and-a-half ago, U.S. pharmaceutical companies were the envy of the world, turning out one life-saving drug after another. But recently the development of new drugs has stalled. According to The New York Times, these companies simply no longer have the “will” to develop new drugs, — as if the companies have simply gotten lazy. The real culprit has been the constant threat of price controls and the FDA’s lower approval rates and longer approval lags. Who wants to bear the huge development costs for new drugs only to face price controls that could deny companies the ability to recoup those costs?

    Obama’s solution has been a move to encourage the government entering the drug development business. But do we really believe that taxpayer money is going to be more efficient at creating new drugs?

  2. CrystalBall Feb. 8 at 9:14 a.m.

    Save for the realty company, closures of national companies is based on long term performance and long term state business environment. This has been a speeding train for Illinois for a while. Kmart is closing 6 and 2 are in Illinois. The new taxes didn’t cause it…the old taxes caused it. There have been so many businesses leave the state, this is just a drop in the bucket and just the newest of announcements. If you are a tax and spend state and businesses need to overhaul their model, they will move to friendlier states. Always have; always will. The tech folks moved to Austin; in the 80’s businesses started moving to NC. Boeing choosing SC for the 787. This is a long cycle that was predictable and the state has no plan to stop it other than to raise taxes more. We no longer have an edge.

  3. Peeulosi Feb. 8 at 9:15 a.m.

    Thanks Quinn.

  4. JerryH Feb. 8 at 9:15 a.m.

    I don’t blame these businesses one bit. The Democrats who run Illinois have declared war on businesses and taxpayers. Well, guess what? Businesses and taxpayers can leave and that’s what they’re doing. Maybe all the retired teachers and state government employees will pay enough in taxes to keep the state running because they’re the only ones getting ahead here in the People’s Republic of Illinois.

  5. George Feb. 8 at 9:30 a.m.

    I don’t why the other companies are closing, but K-Mart days had been numbered for years even before the Sears merger. Have any of you been to a K-Mart store recently? K-Mart stores are awful and so behind in the times. You would think when Target and Walmart started to expand their stores, K-Mart would got aggressive to update their stores and marketing strategy.

    But instead Target, Walmart, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Kolhs and Conway stores just walked all over K-Mart. Don’t be surprise the K-Mart closed stores in Illinois will become Target, Walmart, Khols, or Costco.

  6. JF Feb. 8 at 9:42 a.m.

    There are very few of these you can blame on the tax climate in Illinois. Kmart has been dying for years, surprised its only two stores. DJ’s competes in another dying sector increasingly dominated by Amazon and most of theose manufacturers are in declining low margin industries. It is very common to see a wave of closures in the first couple of months of the year as companies evaluate their operations while doing year end audits.

  7. wilson Feb. 8 at 9:45 a.m.

    I’d have to agree with George. The Kmart out by my house is absolutely horrible. Hardly do you ever see anymore then 10 cars in the parking lot. Most of the time I’m sure the cars are those of the workers.

  8. Rose Feb. 8 at 9:52 a.m.

    I had a layaway at K-Mart in Franklin Park, went to pick up my items and was told my order was cancelled, now they want to charge me 10.00 for them cancelling my order, in which I had already paid in full. K-mart is a joke.

  9. greg Feb. 8 at 9:55 a.m.

    Illinois’ tax situation was never mentioned in this article, so you can’t fairly say that was the cause of them closing. I will agree with other posters that Kmart essentially did themselves in. The Sears merger never helped either one of them. If you have to place blame, blame management. They run their ship.

  10. Brusjumper Feb. 8 at 9:56 a.m.

    KMART is SC is doing fine and business is great. Of course we are a right to work state with LOW taxes and LOW Corporate State taxes. Illinois is a sewer with democrats and taxes, corruption, and your business’s will move accordingly. Probably move south like Texas or South Carolina. Also, looks like Rambo Dead Fish will be another corrupt mayor tied to the failed president in so many ways. It is my understanding, the OBOZO guy if running his campaign from Chicago, should be interesting to say the least.

    Good luck balancing your budgets borrowing money to pay interest on BILLIONS and BILLIONS.

  11. Annie Feb. 8 at 10:06 a.m.

    Now where all this laid off employees will go?

    Is there any new industry or factory that will take them in?

    I hope all the companies that went to China and India will come back and open up business in Illinois so they will hire people to survive in this depression like days.

  12. Dan Feb. 8 at 10:10 a.m.

    They need to raise taxes again in order to pay for the unemployed. The best jobs in IL are with the government. Fantastic pension, don’t have to work to hard, and you can retire at 50.

    RIP IL. You were once a great state.

  13. Amber M Feb. 8 at 10:27 a.m.

    Thank you Quinn, Madigan and Cullerton

  14. position Feb. 8 at 10:34 a.m.

    While I agree that it’s unlikely that the recently announced tax increases last month had little to do with these business decisions, I have to believe those increases may have hastened them. The state should look into offering incentives to retain as many of these businesses/jobs as possible (and that may be the idea), but the state is in no financial position to do so. Besides it wouldn’t be fair to offer tax incentives to retain these businesses/jobs while other businesses will be forced to pay higher taxes in the near future.

    On the other hand, all of us knew the last couple of years that taxes in this state were going to be raised as Quinn hadn’t tried to hide that fact. These businesses may have been aware of this back then and planned for this over the last several years. Now this announcement, coupled with the tax increases, has been finalized now that the tax increases are official.

    Coincidence? I don’t think so.

  15. Jason Feb. 8 at 10:34 a.m.

    So we tax Bill Gates and take everything from him except $100,000. There, now he’s no longer rich. Tell me, how does that affect you? Do you now have more money? Will taxes get lowered? Not a chance.

    Liberals are only liberal because there’s something in it for them.

    Bush was liberal. Obama is liberal. Mccain would have been liberal. You need to look at more than a “R” or a “D” next to someones name. I believe Mark Kirk is a RINO.

  16. Jeff Feb. 8 at 10:35 a.m.

    Taxes have zero to do with closings, ever. If you understood how taxes worked, you’d realize that a company only pays taxes as a percentage of profits, not revenue. No one in their right mind is going to close a company that is turning a profit, so an increase in the percentage of taxes taken out of the profits has no effect on a business shutting down.

  17. David J. Feb. 8 at 11:29 a.m.

    A lot of people on here are pointing the finger at the Democrats or politics in general but this has nothing to do with that at all. K-Mart has been in trouble way before Obama was in office. They filed chapter 11 during the Bush years. If that is the case, then put the blame on the man in office from 2000-2008. But I am not going to do that. They did not have a business model that would be able to keep them to compete against their competitors. You don’t see Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, etc closing down that sells the similar products, do you????

    The other stores closing in this article: a bakery, a company that sells dvd’s and video games online, a paper board manufactoring company?? All of them are going under due to the change of business in 2011 and the future. If companies do not have the business savy to adapt to the new times, no government can help this.

    PLEASE stop blaming elected officials all the time and look at the people who are running these companies. If companies don’t find a way to adapt to their customers, people will not buy. Its just that simple, not politics….

  18. eno Feb. 8 at 12:02 pm

    better yet let’s just watch Fox News, yeah they make sense

  19. marcon Feb. 8 at 12:11 pm


    Yes, I am a business owner. The company that I am part owner in had a 47% increase in sales over the year prior, with income in the eight figures. My company will continue to see success because I am in an industry that is thriving, as the industry changes, so will my business in order to advance.

    It is the failure of each of these companies to change that has caused their reduction in talent – not the increase in taxes last month (as so many contributors would like to blame). Could the increase in taxes have an effect on companies down the line? Perhaps; but that is not what these individuals are referring to.

    Sears/Kmart stores, ZipRealty, AGI, etc. each had their business affected in different ways (ex. failing business model, lagging industry, outdated facilities, economy, etc.). What I am referring to is all of the hot-heads who immediately jumped on the tax increase as the reasoning….that makes no sense in the least. Do you/they truly believe that if Brady had won, or if the tax hike was not implemented, that these companies would not have reduced staff? When companies of the size in question decide to close a store, reduce staff, or close a factory, that decision started months, to years, prior.

    By the way, when I say “hate-filled” I am referring to comments calling elected officials “scumbags,” the Governor “a big fat cow” and the President of the United States “The Keny(a)n.” That, my friend, is hate. I have no hate, I just want people to think for themselves, and think in a logical fashion before they spew forth ideas that have no connection back to what they are referring to. There no longer is healthy debate in this country, it has been replaced by mean-spirited discourse which is tearing apart our political system. That is a rant for another day…

  20. Brando Feb. 8 at 12:41 pm

    Silgan is closing cause they had very crappy Quality Assurance procedures going on. They hired lame ducks that didnt know how to manage or perform their daily functions.
    It cost them their biggest client, Campbell and now they have to shutter the doors and windows. It is actually Silgan Food in woodstock.

  21. The Real Truth Feb. 8 at 1:39 pm

    I love seeing all the clueless partisan fools blaming politicians for PRIVATE businesses failing and falling short. I thought you people don’t think that the government can solve everyone’s problems and the private sector is the epitome of perfection. Why, then, do you same people always blame the government for the failings of the private businesses? Is “hypocrisy” just another big word that you people don’t understand?

    As for the tax situation, it shows the lack of patriotism among corporate America that they hold jobs hostage to get people who lack any self respect to shill corporate interests to their own detriment. Meanwhile, ComEd is begging for a taxpayer handout AND deregulation. Man, you people are easy to play for the fool!

  22. ScottM1207 Feb. 8 at 1:48 pm

    Simple collateral damage in the Democrat War on Prosperity. Predictable and predicted.

  23. Gardengirl Feb. 8 at 2:24 pm

    I don’t understand why the AT&T layoffs were not mentioned. AT&T had declared over 800 employees surplus in Illinois.

  24. hal Feb. 8 at 2:47 pm

    QUINN IS GUTLESS……..rather than cut the budget across the board 10 percent for everyone…..or even 2 percent for every state worker…..he raises taxes. ALL GUTLESS!!!!!!!!!

  25. magicdude Feb. 8 at 3:27 pm

    Well atleast Indiana has some great highlights several Businesses are hiring in Indianapolis/around Indiana.
    Take a look:

  26. JOHN C Feb. 8 at 3:31 pm

    Start a buiness in Indiana and skip the ill bs story.

  27. Anonymous Feb. 8 at 3:35 pm

    Voting straight democratic is the problem?

    Have you really forgotten who is a Republican?
    Forgotten Rumsfeld already? Cheney? GW Bush? Bolton?

    About what happened under 8 years of a Republican government?

    $2 Trillion towards an unnecessary war. The country’s largest banks having to be bailed out to avoid having them sink the rest of the country? Careless rollbacks of regulations of every type that resulted in financial companies, health care companies, and energy companies that took advantage of every possible opportunity to cut corners and maximize their profits at the expense of everyone who wasn’t a CEO? Employment at all levels at thousands of organization in almost every department outsourced to the lowest bidder in India or China?


  28. Scott Feb. 8 at 5:01 pm

    OK enough already. Stop blaming this guy or that guy, if you haven’t been to one of the said mention companies planning the lay-offs then we all are too blame. I’m first I never shop at Kmart, it’s dirty looking to me, gives me the creeps.

  29. Bernie B Feb. 8 at 5:57 pm

    @ Marcon:

    Thanks for a generous dose of common sense and rational thought . . . two commodities sorely lacking in a majority of these mosh pit rants.

  30. position Feb. 8 at 8:48 pm

    Voting straight democratic is the problem?

    Have you really forgotten who is a Republican?
    Forgotten Rumsfeld already? Cheney? GW Bush? Bolton?

    About what happened under 8 years of a Republican government?

    $2 Trillion towards an unnecessary war. The country’s largest banks having to be bailed out to avoid having them sink the rest of the country? Careless rollbacks of regulations of every type that resulted in financial companies, health care companies, and energy companies that took advantage of every possible opportunity to cut corners and maximize their profits at the expense of everyone who wasn’t a CEO? Employment at all levels at thousands of organization in almost every department outsourced to the lowest bidder in India or China?


    This is getting old and has no merit.

    Anonymous, go back to the planet you came from.

  31. Themoreyouknow Feb. 9 at 7:08 a.m.

    “Position” you don’t have clue. Your probably public school educated. The Republicans have not been in power in Chicago or Illinois for some time. When does the blame Bush card expire?

  32. kingfish Feb. 9 at 11:12 a.m.

    I really get a kick out of hillbillies talk about their low taxes and “right to work”. What they don’t talk about is pathetic pay scales, little or no benefits. A republican fund raiser once told me that the ONLY way they ever win an election is because of the incredibly wealthy and the criminally stupid. As an employee of the republican party, he said he had never voted for one as he didn’t make enough to benefit from their policies and was smart eneough to know that they didn’t care as long as he made THEM money

  33. dco Feb. 9 at 2:35 pm

    K-Mart has and always been a horrible experience whenever I go to there. Poor managing, poor organization of the store, and poor customer service.

    My business will be taken to Target and Wal-mart. At least in the Chicago area up North.

  34. Anonymous Feb. 12 at 5:38 pm

    @TheMoreYouKnow – It’s much too big to expire anytime soon. And, if you meant me? I am public school educated. The blame on Bush expires once the ideas and the activity that he encouraged and allowed to happen no longer have an impact the economy of the U.S.

    Eight years of cratering the U.S. economy and borrowing back Trillions (TRILLIONS) of dollars from the Chinese and Indians – to primarily fund an unjustified war in Iraq – that we sent them ourselves to buy the manufactured goods and high tech services work that the GOP was all too happy to send to lower wage countries. Eight years of financial deregulation that tied the hands of the SEC and made it much too easy and profitable to trash the economy. And eight years of complaining that any regulation or oversight at all was too much. No. That will not go away anytime soon.

    @Position – And, by the way, which part doesn’t have any merit?

  35. Anonymous Feb. 12 at 11:14 pm

    And 8 years. Before that was someone named George Ryan.

  36. Big Daddy Feb. 14 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks to all of the Dems and their prior predicessors, the state is now in mass chaos. Rather than influencing companies to keep or move their businesses here, they raise the state income tax. Nice short sided thoughts. Can you say Detroit?

  37. Mikecch Feb. 19 at 4:18 pm

    People seem to forget that jobs have been leaving Illinois for the last 30 years. People also seem to have forgot that during the past 30 years, Republicans have been in charge for 24 of them. Remember Jim Thompson, Jim Edgar and then George Ryan…back to back to back republican rule. What happended during those 24 years of republicans in charge: jobs left the state in droves, corporations refused to move to Illinois, scandle after scandle after scandle…one of which caused five children their lives because of the CDL driver license scandle, which opened the door to the investigation that ultimatly landed George Ryan in jail. Illinois may lean blue now but, only recently.