MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — It’s not unusual for people doing business downtown to have envelopes in their hands. But the yellow ones employees carried out of Target headquarters Wednesday had some heavy implications.

Some 550 Target workers in the Twin Cities are losing their jobs, and it’s all because of the demise of the retailer’s expansion into Canada.

Target says 350 people were let go on the spot Wednesday, while the remaining will be around as the Canada stores liquidate.

Some of those employees found liquid comfort and a welcome at The Local, right across the street from Target headquarters on Nicollet Mall.

“Obviously, anybody in a situation like that, you know, an Irish Pub is great place to be because it’s just a warm and hospitable location,” said Josh Petzel, a general manager at The Local.

One employee who carried out her office art told WCCO-TV she’s worked there for three years. She said she had no idea it was coming.

Another former employee said he had a feeling he might get laid off but didn’t know for sure until Wednesday.

But a business professor says that there’s hope of another job for many of these workers.

“The vast amount of individuals who get terminated like that will end up getting jobs,” said George John, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.

He says that if an arm of a major company isn’t working, they often eliminate the whole division.

John also said that employer-employee loyalty in America is not what it once was.

“What does it mean for the city, for the economy? Not a lot because this stuff happens all the time,” John said. “What does it mean for the individual person concerned? A lot.”

Johns added that it’s a good job market and that Minneapolis is a big city with lots of opportunities. He said these days it’s common for people to only spend a few years at a time with a company. Also, Target is a large company people can put on their resumes.

Target executives didn’t comment on the layoffs Wednesday, but the company did release a statement:

In January, Target announced the company had made the difficult decision to end our Canadian operations. At that time, we shared there would be a headcount reduction at our U.S. and India headquarters as well. Today we informed impacted team members that approximately 550 positions in Minnesota and 170 in India will be eliminated over time.

That includes approximately 350 Minnesota-based positions that are being eliminated today. The majority of the remaining team members are needed through the closure of the Target Canada stores and their positions will be eliminated following the liquidation period.

All affected team members will remain on the payroll for at least 60 days. In addition, comprehensive severance packages are being given to team members based on their years of service. Additionally, each team member will be provided with career outplacement support. Target will also pay the employer portion of their benefits coverage for the next six months.

This is a difficult day for the Target team but we continue to believe that the steps we are taking are the right ones for the company.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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