Am I Next? Abrupt plant closure at Colortree Group — all employees laid off without notice.

Richmond, Virginia-based Colortree Group, a commercial print and direct mail vendor, has abruptly shut down its operations, closed its doors, and laid off approximately 240 employees. It appears that the financially struggling company simply ran out of money and could no longer sustain operations. The employees were shocked to find the doors locked upon their arrival and were instructed to call a phone number for details.

In a letter to the State Dislocated Worker Unit of the Virginia Employment Commission, President and CEO Pat Patterson noted, “This letter is being provided to you in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN Act”) in order to notify you that Colortree Group, located at 8000 Villa Park Drive, Henrico, Virginia, will be closing some or all of its divisions of the Company, Many of Colortree’s approximately 240 employees at this worksite will be laid off as a result. The anticipated closure of certain Colortree divisions, and resulting layoffs, will be permanent. The Company hopes to accomplish this closure with as little disruption as possible to the lives of our employees and the community.”

Patterson’s company, Stingem Management Group became the sole owner of Colortree after acquiring the company from Boathouse Capital, a private equity firm. Ironically, Patterson, a highly accomplished manager of printing operations, believed in a business philosophy called TOC, Theory of Constraints, which posits that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and the role of a manager is to identify and manage the identified constraints – and of course, the biggest constraint is the possible for the business to be revived by an infusion of funds from the customers, a competitor, or by acquisition.

Change is coming. There will always be a tomorrow, no matter how much you may try to ignore it. There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. No one is guaranteed to wake up tomorrow and still have a job by evening. Are you now wondering, Am I Next?