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Over 200 layoffs hit Charlotte-area medical supplier as it closes distribution center

Four years after a medical supplier saw a surge in demand during the pandemic in North Carolina, its Charlotte-area distribution center is closing, and throwing over 200 people out of work.

Medline Industries, based in Illinois, is closing its Charlotte distribution center in Lincolnton resulting in 220 job cuts, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) recently filed with the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The 917 E. Powell Drive facility is 42 miles northwest of Charlotte.

The first of four rounds of layoffs began March 25, Medline’s attorney Kristin Carter said in a letter to the state agency.

Medline is consolidating operations at its new Mebane facility, and about 20 jobs will be relocated there, Carter said in the letter.

The transition will be completed by this summer, Medline told The Charlotte Observer. All Lincolnton workers are eligible to apply for other open positions at Medline.

Medline will offer employees severity packages and outplacement services to assist in their transition, according to the company.

Last year, Medline Industries permanently closed its Salisbury facility at 3310 S. Main St., resulting in 97 layoffs. The plant manufactured surgical procedure kits.

Thursday has been a roller coaster day for jobs in Lincoln County.

News of the layoffs comes as Gov. Roy Cooper announced lithium battery parts manufacturer Green New Energy Materials Inc. will invest $140 million in its first US facility in Lincolnton, creating 545 jobs. The Denver area facility, just northwest of Charlotte, will manufacture battery separator components for North American customers.

Medline Industries, the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies in the US, is consolidating its North Carolina facilities resulting in 220 layoffs in Lincolnton.

More about Medline

In 2019, Medline Industries said it would create 250 jobs in Orange County by investing $65 million to build a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center in Mebane, west of Durham. For its investment, Medline received a performance-based grant of $500,000 from the One North Carolina Fund.

Medline was at the forefront of the COVID pandemic crisis, manufacturing and distributing advanced medical equipment to hospital systems in the Charlotte region, The Observer previously reported.

In 2020, Medline had two North Carolina distribution centers — a 400,000-square-foot center in Lincolnton with 300 workers and 350,000-square-foot Concord facility with 75 employees — that were running 24/7 shifts to meet demand.

The Concord site was expected to be temporary until Mebane opened.

Medline Industries’ Charlotte distribution center in Lincolnton, shown in a file photo, saw medical supply demand increase 300% at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

Medline is the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies in the US

It reported $21.2 billion in sales in 2022. The family-owned business manufactures more than 65,000 products and distributes more than 300,000 medical products, according to the company’s website.

The healthcare company has more than 30,000 employees worldwide and does business in more than 125 countries and territories.