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Tastefully Simple confirms layoffs, opening up building space for tenants

Tastefully Simple, located in Alexandria, laid off 14 workers in August. (Beth Leipholtz | Echo Press)

Alexandria-based Tastefully Simple laid off 14 workers Aug. 28, it confirmed Wednesday. It also is seeking investors and plans to lease space in its lodge-style headquarters to other businesses.

The layoffs, following steady attrition, brings the workforce at its headquarters down to 100. That's about a third of the workers it employed several years ago, after blistering growth landed it in the Inc. 500 Hall of Fame in 2005. The Hall of Fame is Inc. magazine's list of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S.

"We were very sad to lose these gifted individuals," said founder and CEO Jill Blashack Strahan in a news release. "Having a smaller, core team is critical as we continue to simplify and get back to the basics of our business. The HQ team and thousands of independent consultants across the nation, can count on us to make smart business decisions to ensure a strong future for Tastefully Simple."

It's not the first time that the company, which markets food and food-related items and gifts through a national network of independent sales representatives, has downsized. It eliminated 66 positions in 2014 and 39 in 2016. After last year's layoff, it said it retained 140 employees.

Strahan founded the company in 1995, building it into a $100 million business, according to the company's website. It specializes in easy-to-prepare food, recipes, and related items.

The company's news release said that it is exploring possibilities for investor involvement.

"We take pride in our very strong brand that has resulted in the loyalty of millions of clients. Additional expertise and horsepower will help us gain even more exposure," Strahan said.

Strahan also is turning the campus near county roads 45 and 82 into the Turning Leaf Business Center, leasing space to other businesses. Tastefully Simple continues to be based in the center.

"This is an exceptionally beautiful facility and we have more space than we need. It's a win-win," Strahan said.

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