Washington boat builder closes

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. – Nichols Brothers Boat Builders closed its doors last week and laid off its entire 250-person work force, but company officials are hopeful employees may be back on the job soon, the Whidbey News-Times reported in a story Wednesday.

“I’m in sales so I'm always optimistic,” Nichols Brothers Boat Builders President Bryan Nichols told the newspaper. “As a business person I'm very optimistic we'll have our doors opening again in eight weeks or less.”

However, Nichols, who has been talking to possible financial backers and trying to work out problems with a lawsuit filed by Hornbeck Offshore Services in a dispute over a contract, said the company’s cash flow problems are still troublesome and need to be resolved.

“There's still a big hole there,” he said. “We're sitting in a hole we're trying to fill.”

An official with the state’s Employment Security Department told the newspaper the company had estimated in writing that the workers might be unemployed only until Nov. 30

The EDC was planning to host an informational meeting for Nichols employees, but that idea was put on hold at the request of the company's human resources department, perhaps because of the anticipated short layoff, the News-Times reported.

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