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Tastefully Simple cuts 20 percent of jobs at Alexandria headquarters

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An Alexandria direct sales company that markets gourmet and specialty food products is trimming 66 positions at its headquarters in Alexandria. That represents about 20 percent of its workforce.

The Alexandria Echo Press reports that a news release from Tastefully Simple indicated that the cuts are a result of restructuring by the company. The newspaper cited a company statement that said the cuts are needed “in order to better align [the company’s] resources with strategies to strengthen its future growth.”

The story said the company will continue to employ about 200 in the Alexandria area. The Star Tribune notes that the job cuts represent the first workforce reduction in the 19-year history of Tastefully Simple.

Tastefully Simple founder and CEO Jill Blashack Strahan started the company as a gift-basket business in her home. It has expanded into a national distributor of easy-to-make snacks, cakes and other food, with $82 million in sales last year.

"We also know this step is absolutely necessary to help us achieve our growth goals in an increasingly challenging marketplace," Strahan said. "I’m very confident in our ability to grow our business by investing in targeted strategies.”

The company uses thousands of independent sales consultants to sell company products. They will not see changes in the way they operate their home-based businesses. The Small Business Association website notes that Strahan started the company "in a shed with no running water or air conditioning, using a pool table as the packing station."

Earlier this year, the company hit 200,000 fans on Facebook.

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