Fadler Company Shutting Down

Tuesday, November 25th 2008, 10:50 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TULSA, OK - They are saying goodbye to a landmark Tulsa business.  After nearly 100 years, Fadler Company is closing its doors.  The food distributor filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year.  Most of the employees have already been laid off, and only a skeleton crew remains in place until January.

The longtime Tulsa company opened in 1918.  Over the past couple of weeks, 30 people have been laid off.  Soon, the company will close for good.

At the Fadler Company, the trucks are sitting idle.  The blinds are closed.  The building is for sale.  It's hard for people who have ties to the landmark business.

"A majority of the employees had been there for a long time.  That's sad for them, being at one place for so many years and then all of a sudden going to lose their job," said family member Zach Thompson.

Zach Thompson doesn't work at Fadler, but his stepfather, John Conine was the co-owner until his death.  Conine died last November when his SUV went off a Will Rogers Turnpike exit ramp into a pond.

"They are great people.  Hard workers.  Very smart people.  But, I think he was the backbone to bring Fadler back to where it was once before," said Zach Thompson.

Current company leaders say with Conine's death, the business was unable to get enough financing to support such a large business.  That, combined with increased competition, led to bankruptcy.

"He would have done anything.  He gave it all to get it where it was til the day he died," said Zach Thompson.

Last Friday, the company closed its retail market, where it sold food directly to the public.           It's also stopped delivery directly to customers.  Employment, which was 135 workers a year ago, is down to just a dozen.

"There's more to it than just losing a business.  You're also looking at a number of men and women that have been in the same workplace for years, and are going to lose their jobs over it, you know," said Zach Thompson.

Fadler served hundreds of customers all over Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas, and southeast Kansas.  It closes for good in January.