Staff at a Northampton company that makes signs for the likes of Asda and Tesco have reported a spate of redundancies in what could be the end for the 150-year-old firm.
Hawes Signs Limited, which was established in London following the Second World War and moved to Northampton in 1982, has roots in sign-making stretching back to the Victorian era.
But last year the Moulton Park-based company announced it was laying off about 60 workers after losing £3 million worth of business in under two years.
It was bought out by a parent company, HLD Group, and the firm entered into an agreement to pay back around a third of its £5.4 million debt.
But reports from members of staff this week show a raft of further redundancies having taken place in the last month.
Some workers contacted the Chron to say they had received redundancy letters on Friday (November 25) and that operations in the factory and warehouse were being brought to a close.
At the last count, there were around 160 staff at the company, but it is not known how many employees are left today.
Two sources told the Chron the parent company HLD has transferred many of the current contracts over to Sign 2000, a company it has acquired in Tonbridge, Kent.
Hawes Signs management have yet to confirm this is the case.
But several staff have taken to a Facebook group called “Have you ever worked at Hawes Signs” to express sadness at the job losses.
“Well that was some morning at work,” said one man on Friday. “Have been made redundant from Hawes Signs with immediate effect after 32 years service man and boy.
“Thanks to everyone who has helped me over the years. Will miss some fantastic colleagues and friends.”
Several others expressed their anger at the demise of the firm.
One wrote: “Getting talked into coming back once they had new owners was the worst decision I have ever made and I will regret it forever, pretty much ruined everything I have strived to build and achieve in my life.”
Both HLD Group - which is registered in Malta - and Hawes Signs have been contacted for comment.
The company, which was established by Kenneth Hawe, has manufactured signs for a number of high-profile clients including big banks like Lloyds TSB and NatWest. It was also involved in the rebrand of over 4,000 sites for car-makers Nissan across 17 European countries.