LEWISTON — The CEO of Geiger said Thursday that the company has furloughed about 20% of its local workforce of some 220 employees.

The adjusted figure came a day after President and CEO Jo-an Lantz told the Sun Journal 12 employees had been furloughed from Geiger’s distribution center in Lewiston.

On Thursday, Lantz said the figure she released Wednesday referred to the distribution center only, and did not include office staff and others who work remotely.

The company is initiating the layoffs and furloughs because of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. The company received a federal loan under the Paycheck Protection Plan that phases out June 15.

The promotional products company employs 360 nationwide, not including sales staff. Roughly 220 are based locally, she said.

Lantz declined to release the specific figures on the total number of employees affected, or how many were laid off and furloughed, saying the company is “not releasing the totality,” but added that the majority were furloughs. She said employees in the United Kingdom have also been impacted.


If an employee is furloughed, they are still considered an employee of the company, with the intention of being “called back.” She said for some positions, however, they are not expecting there will be enough work six months from now.

Lantz said because Geiger relies on travel, events and marketing, it has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the initial article detailing the furloughs Wednesday, the Sun Journal received several comments and messages regarding layoffs at the company complaining the number released Wednesday was far too low.

One person commenting on the initial story said, “Failure to report accurately is a slap in the face to those who were let go.”

Lantz said Geiger, located on Mount Hope Avenue in Lewiston, had been able to avoid furloughs and layoffs for three months during the pandemic. One way it managed to do that was by shifting to the creation and sale of personal protective equipment such as gowns and masks at a time when the items were coming in demand.

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