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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

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For the week of April 10 - 16 , 2002


Smith Sport Optics cuts nine positions

Express Staff Writer

If rumors have any redeeming qualities, they are entertainment and the hint of something true.

So, itís no wonder Ned Post, president of Smith Sport Optics, looked a little amused and sad at the same time when he was asked about the layoff of 70 workers.

"We donít have 70 employees to lay off," he said. "Seventy is bogus. We only have 66 full-time people in Ketchum."

"We did cut seven full-time and two part-time positions from across the company in sales, marketing, accounting and finance," Post said. "This is the first time we have had to lay people off.

"We lost some really good friends. For me, it was devastating, but not nearly as much as it was for them."

The layoffs, which occurred March 25, came as a result of three different factors, Post said.

First, "2001 was anything but a robust year, especially in the eye wear industry.

"Then Sept. 11 further shook the retail community.

"But the most crippling event was that the Sunglass Hut was purchased by Luxottica, the main competitor of our parent company, Safilo."

The Sunglass Hut is a retail store where many brands of sunglasses and sports eye wear are sold, including Smith.

Sometime after April 2, 2001, when Luxottica bought the retailer, Smith was informed the Sunglass Hut would no longer carry its brands, and with that, the company lost a major customer and about 60 percent of the retail market potential for specialty sunglasses.

Post explained that although the specialty sunglasses market is a significant one for Smith, it is just one market segment out of the total market for Smith eye wear.

But however the impact on Smith Sport Optics can be explained, those who have paid for the market change are still, in Postís words, "devastated."

As one of those laid off put it, "I donít feel comfortable talking about this at this time."

Postís assessment of his company is that with $50 million in sales a year, it is "still a healthy little company, and weíre taking every step to make sure it continues that way."

Of the four offices that make up Smith Sport Optics, the Ketchum office was the only one that suffered layoffs.

The other offices are in Costa Mesa, Calif., Longeuil, Quebec, and Florence, Italy.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.