Forty-five people were laid off Tuesday at Dealer.com, one of Burlington’s largest employers.
The layoffs at the Pine Street tech company amount to about a 4 percent workforce reduction, according to company spokeswoman Alison von Puschendorf.
Employees were aware of the looming layoffs. Cox Automotive, Dealer’s parent company, announced plans last week to trim from its 35,000-person worldwide workforce by approximately 3 percent — a total cut of about 950 employees.
The impact on Burlington was unclear until the layoffs Tuesday.
“We held discussions with those impacted today and are working closely with them during this transition,” von Puschendorf said in an email. “In addition to providing severance, employee assistance programs and outplacement support from Cox Automotive, we are also working closely with several city and state agencies and officials to provide additional assistance to help with job placement. The types of positions impacted varies across the business.”
Dealer.com had about 1,000 employees prior to the job cuts.
The company had seen steady growth in recent years to become one of Vermont’s most successful startups. With edgy interior and exterior designs, a gym, tennis court, and two cafés, the Burlington business has helped revitalize the Pine Street corridor and brought a youthful energy to the city.
Tuesday’s layoffs are not an indication of ill health at the company, according to von Puschendorf's statement.
"We are confident the changes we make today will position the company for greater long-term growth, stability and profitability," she wrote. "Dealer.com is committed to staying in Burlington and has experienced unprecedented growth since it started nearly 20 years ago, and we are proud of its community involvement and business leadership as one of the largest employers in the state. During these two decades, the technology and business sectors in Burlington have grown tremendously with the support of the city and state, along with a growing sense of entrepreneurism. While it is difficult to say goodbye to members of the Dealer.com family, we will use all of the resources available to assist impacted team members so they may remain in the local workforce and we can all maintain a strong and vibrant Vermont."
Jill Badolato, director of corporate social responsibility at Dealer.com, was among those laid off. It was tough day for everyone at the company, she said.
“The mood has been really stressed and really charged,” Badolato said. “A lot of people were let go today and a lot of people are feeling really sad and scared about losing our culture and still being the same Dealer.com that we were, that we were founded on.”
She declined to discuss the details of her severance package other than to say that she will be paid through the end of September. Badolato was hired back in 2005 when there were only 35 employees — including her.
“I’ve had a really good ride,” she said. “It’s been a blast for the last twelve and a half years.”