Publishers Clearing House is closing a Melville mail processing facility this spring, laying off 109 employees there, according to a state filing.
The Jericho-based company, known for "prize patrols" that deliver oversized checks to sweepstakes winners, filed a WARN notice with the state Labor Department on Jan. 21 saying the company would close its 265 Spagnoli Rd. location on April 24. The company said it would be relocating those operations to a facility in Minnesota.
“Following a lot of thought and analyses, PCH decided not to renew our lease on our Melville Response Mail Processing Facility,” Chris Irving, vice president of consumer and legal affairs, wrote in an email. “We will be moving these operations to Minnesota where we already have an existing fulfillment operation.”
Irving said the new location will “lend itself to faster turnaround of customer entries and product orders for consumers from coast to coast” because of its geography.
“This decision was extremely difficult and was not a reflection of our terrific group of employees,” he said, adding that human resource personnel are working closely with impacted employees to identify “new opportunities.”
WARN, the state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, requires that companies with 50 full-time employees or more file a notice of a mass layoff or a closing 90 days in advance.
Founded in a Port Washington garage in 1953 by Harold and LuEsther Mertz and daughter Joyce Mertz-Gilmore, PCH, in addition to the sweepstakes that helps market magazines, creates digital games and runs online contests.
Since its founding, the company says it has awarded more than $460 million in prizes.
In 2015, the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency provided PCH and its landlord millions of dollars in tax breaks to keep the company’s headquarters and its more than 400 jobs in the county as part of a $37 million redevelopment project.
The company’s landlord, The We’Re Group, received a 20-year deal on property taxes, in addition to a sales tax exemption of up to $1.4 million for construction materials and equipment to upgrade 300 Jericho Quadrangle, the site of PCH’s current headquarters. PCH also received a sales tax exemption of up to $1.6 million on its purchases of equipment for the site.
The Melville closure does not impact the company’s agreement with the Nassau County IDA and PCH is “living up to their job commitment” as part of its headquarters deal, said Richard Kessel, chairman of the Nassau IDA.