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Tough Choices Ahead For Coldwater Creek Workers

Anna King
Northwest News Network

The Idaho Department of Labor is holding a session this week to help hundreds of people in north Idaho who will lose their jobs when Coldwater Creek goes out of business.

The Sandpoint-based retailer is going bankrupt after years of declining sales. And it will be hard for workers to find new jobs in the region.

Coldwater Creek became famous for their catalogs featuring woodsy, Northwest clothes. But aggressive expansion and attempts to offer trendier lines proved too much.

The bankruptcy announced this month means 350 people at the corporate headquarters in Sandpoint and another 110 in Coeur d'Alene will be out of work.

Bridgette Bradshaw-Fleer, manager of the state Department of Labor office in Sandpoint, says many people will have to uproot.

“In some cases, not just one family member is involved, but two family members are working at Coldwater Creek," says Bradshaw-Fleer. "So that's a bigger decision -- if they want to be mobile right a way or wait until their kids are out of school. It's a difficult decision for all of them.”

Bradshaw-Fleer says it will also be a hit to Sandpoint, a town of about 7,400, to lose one of the top employers.

Retail staff elsewhere in the Northwest will lose their jobs when shops close up. That includes Coldwater Creek stores in Kennewick and Tacoma, Wash., Portland, Eugene and Medford, Ore., and Boise.

The Idaho Department of Labor's Sandpoint office will host a meeting for workers on Thursday, May 1 at 2 p.m.