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Linen company: No layoffs after sale falls through

North Shore Linen provides mats, table linen and

North Shore Linen provides mats, table linen and uniforms, including aprons and chef coats. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

A Freeport provider of uniforms and linen to metropolitan-area restaurants has rescinded a layoff notice for 111 workers after the sale of the company fell through.

Larry Gentile, president of North Shore Linen Inc., said the business would continue operations after the prospective buyer, a rival Long Island linen company, pulled out of the deal.

"I'm staying," he said.

On Nov. 26, North Shore Linen issued a Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification Act filing with the state that said it planned to close its facilities on Rider Place and Hanse Avenue around Feb. 24.

A notice revoking that filing was posted Friday.

In a letter to his legal counsel, Manhattan-based Moses & Singer LLP, Gentile said it was urgent to convey that the business would remain open because competitors were trying to poach his customers.

"My competitors are going in to my accounts ... saying I am going out of business," he said.

The abortive buyer was not among the companies trying to woo customers, Gentile said.

Gentile said the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant supply-chain shortages have dealt a blow to the business, with the catering business "almost nonexistent" and difficulties in procuring napkins, tablecloths and other goods from overseas factories.

The company, which ran 30 delivery trucks before the pandemic, is down to seven trucks, though that is still better than the single truck that ran when the virus first hit, he said.

North Shore Linen provides mats, table linen and uniforms, including aprons and chef coats.

Workers at the company are represented by two unions — the International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades, and the United Workers of America.

The company said it started as a residential and commercial laundromat in 1991.

The company's website said its rental uniforms have embedded bar codes and radio frequency identification chips, providing a way to track the garments and gauge when they have reached the end of their useful life.

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